A movie studio has said that filming the year’s biggest hit in Watford contributed £80 million to the UK economy.

Greta Gerwig’s movie about the Mattel doll, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, is Warner Bros’ most successful theatrical release of all time.

The film was largely shot at the Leavesden studios, where Gerwig realised the detailed and vivid Barbieland sets, and apparently created 685 UK jobs.

It generated more than £95 million at the UK box office, the evidence says.

The movie is the biggest film of 2023 so far and has also out-earned 2022’s biggest hit, Top Gun: Maverick.

In written evidence to MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee as part of its British film and high-end TV inquiry, Warner Bros says: “During its production in the UK, it contributed over £80m in direct spend to the local economy, created 685 jobs, involved over 6,000 extras, supported 754 local businesses, paid over £40m in local wages.

“It has also generated over £95m in box office revenues in the UK alone. As such the benefit of attracting such productions are that they are net positive for the UK.”

The committee has written to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt ahead of next week’s autumn statement to call for targeted tax support and changes to regulations impacting the British film industry.

The inquiry has received 130 pieces of written evidence from across the sector, including film studios such as Warner Bros Discovery, Paramount, and Amazon, as well as industry bodies such as the British Film Institute, the Motion Picture Association, and Directors UK.

Evidence from the UK Screen Alliance says the UK is at risk of losing its position as a world leader in visual effects and said targeted tax relief is needed.

The written evidence says: “There is considerable unrealised potential which is being held back by unintended consequences of the structure of the tax reliefs which rather than attracting VFX work to the UK, very often drives it away.”

The committee has now called for targeted tax support to ensure more visual effects work takes place across the whole of the UK.