This time last year, $1 bought £0.51. Now $1 translates into £0.68. Suddenly the UK is looking to Hollywood the most cost-effective it has for years. And US productions are booking in fast to UK facilities. Twentieth Century Fox has started shooting Gulliver's Travels at Pinewood studios. Directed by Shark Tale's Rob Letterman, the live-action comedy adaptation of Jonathan Swift's classic story stars Jack Black as the eponymous writer stranded on the island of Lilliput with its tiny inhabitants.
From February, Leavesden Studios is housing Warner Bros' back-to-back shoots of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part I and Part II. David Yates is directing these final instalments of the lucrative franchise.
Miramax's The Debt will shoot in March at Ealing Studios. Directed by John Madden, the story follows Israeli Mossad agents tracking a Nazi war criminal over 30 years. The cast includes Helen Mirren and Sam Worthington.
Worthington is also set to shoot Clash Of The Titans at Pinewood and Shepperton in the spring. Louis Leterrier will direct this remake of the 1981 film version of the myth of Perseus and his quest to battle Medusa and the Kraken monster to save the Princess Andromeda.
March will also see the start of Ridley Scott's modern-day reimagining of the Robin Hood legend, Nottingham, for Universal Pictures. Principal photography is set to start in March at Shepperton Studios with Russell Crowe due to play a dual role of both Robin Hood and his nemesis, the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Also at Shepperton later this year is Working Title's Nanny McPhee 2. Susanna White directs again with Emma Thompson reprising her role as the Mary Poppins-style nanny with an edge.
Guy Ritchie is directing Sherlock Holmes in New York for Warner Bros, but shooting will move back to London later this year. Robert Downey Jr plays Sherlock Holmes with Jude Law as his sidekick, Watson. Kelly Reilly and Rachel McAdams also star.
Meanwhile, Spyglass Entertainment is lining up to shoot Leap Year, a romantic comedy set to star Amy Adams, in Ireland in March. Anand Tucker is in talks to direct the film for Walt Disney.
Germany has snagged the entire shoot of Roman Polanski's The Ghost, based on the novel by Robert Harris and set in the UK and US. Due to shoot from February in Berlin, Potsdam and on the North Sea island of Sylt, the Summit Entertainment thriller stars Pierce Brosnan as a former British prime minister, Kim Cattrall as his private secretary and Ewan McGregor as the ghostwriter of his memoirs.
Although not yet confirmed, it is likely Polanski will return for interiors to Studio Babelsberg where he shot a large part of The Pianist in 2001. Studio Babelsberg was a co-producer on that Oscar-winning film.
In addition, 2009 should see the first project going before the camera at the German studios as part of the new strategic alliance between the Studio Babelsberg Group and Joel Silver's Dark Castle Entertainment. This will be the third year in a row that producer Silver has a production working out of the Babelsberg studios following Speed Racer (2007) and Ninja Assassin (2008).
Eastern European locations and facilities are also gearing up for a busy year. The Czech Republic is set to host Spyglass Entertainment's Iron Bow: The Legend Of William Tell, to be directed by Justin Chadwick, and Marcel Langenegger's Brothers In Arms, a Second World War drama about a secret mission, produced by Mark Gill's The Film Department. Lucasfilm's Red Tails, a drama about the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American pilots to fly combat missions for the US army, will shoot in March at Prague Studios. Anthony Hemingway will direct.
In Bulgaria, Peter Weir's The Way Back is set to shoot at NuBoyana Studios for Spitfire Pictures. It is based on Slavomir Rawicz's personal account of his nine-month, overland escape from a Soviet gulag. Also at NuBoyana this year will be Brett Ratner's Conan for Lionsgate and Nu Image.
Hungary is set to host Twentieth Century Fox's big-screen adaptation of 1980s TV series The A-Team. Bruce Willis, Woody Harrelson and Ice Cube are in talks to star. Also set to shoot in Hungary is Mikael Salomon's Galahad for Seven Arts Pictures.