Oz skein ‘Police’ cops time on big screen

For the first time in almost 20 years, a movie version of an Australian TV series will be made later this year.

“Police Rescue: The Movie,” based on the highly popular adventure skein from Southern Star/Xanadu (part of the Southern Star Group), will start lensing Aug. 30, with Michael Carson directing.

SSX’s John Edwards says this is the first spinoff film since feature versions of serials “The Box” and “Number 96” in the ’70s, and dovetails nicely with the increasing number of series-based films being made in the U.S. (where the “Rescue” series is being positioned in the long term for the syndication market).

The third series of “Police Rescue” goes to air next week Down Under, produced in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. and the BBC. For the film, however, SS has retained all international rights to maximize its returns. UIP has taken up Oz/NZ theatrical rights, part of an ongoing strategy to beef up its local roster; via a facilities deal the BBC gains Oz TV rights.

The Film Finance Corp. is investing in the feature. It has also announced it’s investing in “Muriel’s Wedding,” the new film from Lynda House and Jocelyn Moorhouse, the duo behind the highly acclaimed feature “Proof.”