Fire Engulfs Aardman Warehouse

The box-office success of Aardman Animation’s Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit was tempered by news that the British studio’s warehouse went up in flames early Monday morning. The Bristol facility housed sets and props from the new feature film, as well as archives, awards and many other pieces of history from the Oscar-winning Wallace & Gromit short films.

Reuters reports that sixty firefighters battled flames that rose 100 feet in the air. The roof of the structure eventually collapsed and it’s feared that the building and its contents are a total loss. The fire is said to have broke out at around 5:30 a.m. and is under investigation.

Nick Park, who created Wallace & Gromit and directed the feature along with Steve Box, has reportedly said that the disaster is immaterial in light of the devastating earthquake that hit Pakistan over the weekend.

A spokesman for Aardman told the news service that the fire should not affect future productions, which include the CG-animated DreamWorks collaboration, Flushed Away, an action-comedy starring rats voiced by Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet. The added publicity generated by the blaze can’t hurt the performance of Curse of the Were-Rabbit either. The movie opened to an estimated $16.1 million in North America over the weekend and expected to enjoy an even bigger bow in the U.K. this Friday.