Production of How to Train Your Dragon resumes in Belfast


There have been reports of more activity, lights and people walking around the outdoor set at Titanic Studios in Belfast, the primary location for filming in Northern Ireland.

It’s been announced that the premiere of the live-action film has been moved from March to June 13, 2025, following the recent strikes.

Production of the adaption of the animated franchise — one of the most successful of all time — was halted earlier this year as a result of the Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strikes.

Filming in Belfast was set to start in the summer with set production already under way in the spring.

News that filming is due to be resumed will be welcome news for the local sector which was hit by the Hollywood strikes and other setbacks.

Blade Runner 2099 series — which was due to start filming in Belfast earlier this year — was also halted as a result of the strikes.

NI Screen confirmed last month that the filming would not be taking place here, even with the end of the strikes.

It declined to comment on the resumption of filming of How To Train Your Dragon. Universal Studios, which is behind the production, did not respond to requests for comment.

Work begins on the making of the set for How To Train your Dragon at Titanic Film Studios

The film, which if successful will likely spawn a franchise and is set to star Nico Parker and Mason Thames, was a win for NI Screen after it lost £1m in funding due to budget cuts.

In September, it welcomed the prospect of a resolution to the strikes.

“The writers’ and actors’ strikes have been halting production all over the world for some time now,” NI Screen said.

“We welcome the news that progress has been made with the WGA and we also hope for a swift and equitable resolution to the SAG-AFTRA strike, allowing USA-originated projects to get back into production.”

The live-action adaptation of How To Train Your Dragon will follow a trilogy of animated films released over 2010 to 2019, generating more than $1.6bn (£1.3bn) worldwide to become the 13th highest-grossing animated franchise.

Five short films, a TV series, video games, comic books, graphic novels, theme park rides and live shows have also been released under the franchise, which is based on a series of children’s books by British author Cressida Cowell.

Backed by Universal and DreamWorks the animated franchise’s writer and director Dean DeBlois will be returning in his role for the live action remake. He has also worked on Lilo & Stitch and Mulan.

It will be Mr DeBlois’ first project as director of a live action movie and is understood to be the first time an animation director will replicate his role for a live production.

The strike is estimated to have cost the US economy £5.5bn.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike lasted for a record 148 days, while the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists lasted 118 days.

The industrial action was due to an ongoing labour dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers over concerns around salaries and residuals due to streaming.

There has also been concerns related to the use of artificial intelligence in film production, with some actors concerned their likeness could be used in future projects without compensation.

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