Politicians blast $50 funding on 'failure' film
“Australia” may not have reached the lofty B.O. heights that Fox had hoped for, but $50 million in Oz incentive coin should soften the blow — unless you’re an Australian politician.The sudsy romance from Baz Luhrmann was eligible for about $50 million in Oz public funding — a record amount paid to any one film — through Australia’s Producer Offset, which pays domestic production companies a 40% rebate on most domestic expenditures. As the pic chugs towards $200 million worldwide, shy of Fox’s “Titanic”-like aspirations, some officials think the incentives are too generous, with one local parliamentarian telling an Oz paper that the pic’s “failure” — real or perceived — was reason enough to push for full disclosure on all public spending on films. But Fox and other studios can breathe easy: Neither the Rudd Labor government nor the opposition Liberal Party, which devised the incentive, support such a move. Even in the face of economic turmoil, both Australia’s domestic and foreign (15%) rebates remain intact and uncapped. Disclosure rules are not about to change either as the legislation is governed by tax laws that guarantee privacy.