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Oz Fox complex opening

Bash fetes highlights of blockbusters

SYDNEY — Four thousand guests from Australia and the U.S. are sure to dress to impress at a lavish bash Sunday night to mark the opening of the Fox Studios Australia entertainment and retail complex.

News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, his sons Lachlan and James and other senior Fox execs (who were in Adelaide for the company’s annual general meeting Thursday) will lead the festivities at the Backlot, the studio tour created by a slew of consultants, including helmer Baz Luhrmann and opera/theater director Barrie Kosky.

Sunday night’s extravaganza will feature a show, televised live, saluting Hollywood musicals and Fox blockbusters including “Titanic.” Show will feature perfs by Human Nature, Tina Arena and Marcia Hines.

On “Titanic — the Experience,” a ride using props from James Cameron’s epic, visitors get to simulate the experience of the liner’s last moments.

At the AGM, Murdoch said News Corp. has poured about $A150 million ($97.5 million) into the Fox Studios facility (a joint venture with developer Lend Lease), which he hailed as a tremendous boost for the Australian film industry. (Others have estimated that the entire project cost closer to $227 million.) To date, the soundstages have mostly been used by international productions such as “Mission Impossible 2,” “The Matrix” and “Babe: Pig in the City.”

While Murdoch stressed profits, revenues and opportunities in his address, he made it clear that he does not see the FSA complex as a major contributor to his empire’s bottom line.

“It is something for the company to be very proud of, although I should say I don’t think it will be a financial bonanza, but modestly profitable,” he told shareholders.

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