×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Government Subsidies Help Lure Film Productions to Australia

Gov coin continues to be the wizardy behind the Oz film industry

The recent $21 million payment to keep “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” afloat Down Under is clear evidence of a country employing creative means to keeps its appeal alive to big overseas productions.

Oz’s economy may be great and powerful, but that has long been the (flying) monkey on the back of a local

film industry having a tough time attracting runaways. To make sure the rest of the world doesn’t forget that this far-flung isle has a wealth of local talent and abundance of diverse locations, the industry has managed to get at least one blockbuster a year to make the trip, thanks to generous one-off government subsidies that are similar to those offered in New Zealand to The Hobbit.

The latest recipient of the Oz government’s largesse is the Disney tentpole “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” toplining Brad Pitt, that got a one-off payment of $A21.6 million ($20.7 million) in April instead of just the Location Offset, which is set at 16.5% of a foreign film’s qualifying spend.

While the value of giving government coin to Hollywood has been debated Down Under, Ausfilm topper Debra Richards harbors no doubt that it’s an important incentive for the industry.

“Encouraging international offshore production keeps Australia and the local industry competitive,” says Richards. “A major production such as ‘20,000 Leagues’ means jobs, continuity of work, skills and training, and innovation and investment back into the local industry.”

The one-off payment is similar to the $13.5 million given last year to “The Wolverine” to have it film in and around Sydney, and forms part of the Creative Australia policy to boost local arts and international pics.

“It is possible,” says Richards says of seeing the return of the one-off system. “The federal government announced an additional ($20.7 million) location incentive in the recent national cultural policy, Creative Australia, to keep Australia competitive for international production — on top of ‘The Wolverine’ and ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ payments — so there is an opportunity to access the additional incentive on top of the current Location Offset.”

These incentives make Oz appealing again in a tough market, but a permanent hike in the Location Offset would signal more security and has been alluded to in Creative Australia should the dollar remain high.

Not that all is lost, since a few local co-prods have also attracted some big name talent in the past year.

Michael and Peter Spierig (“Daybreakers”) are in pre-production in Victoria on Predestination, a sci-fi based on a short story by Robert A. Heinlein (“Starship Troopers”) and starring Ethan Hawke. Ewan McGregor is filming crime-thriller “Son of a Gun” in Western Australia. And the long-awaited, Mel Gibson-free fourth installment in George Miller’s Mad Max series is in post-production.

One-off government payments are making sure that at least some big U.S. productions head to Oz, but some more policy wizardry may be needed should the high dollar continue.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Inhabited

    ‘Inhabited,’ ‘Sisters,’ ‘Aracne’ Stand Out at Sanfic Industria Prize Gala

    Friday night saw Sanfic Industria close out a week of co-production meetings, screenings and tutoring with an awards ceremony where a handful of the 34 projects and six works in progress at this year’s 6th edition were recognized. In addition to the awards ceremony, Friday night’s festivities included a 10th anniversary party for the partnership between CinemaChile [...]

  • DSCF6823.RAF

    Box Office: 'Angel Has Fallen' Heads for $20 Million Opening Weekend

    Lionsgate and Millennium’s “Angel Has Fallen” is performing above expectations, taking in $7.9 million in Friday’s domestic ticket sales as it heads to a projected $20 million opening weekend. Early estimates originally placed the third installment of the “Fallen” series within the $12 million to $16 million range, but a solid 95% audience score on [...]

  • Juntos

    Juntos Films Production House Launches in Chile with Ambitious Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    Francisco Hervé of Panchito Films, Moisés Sepúlveda from Madriguera Films and Daniela Raviola, three of Chile’s most exciting international-minded independent producers, have together launched a new indie production house, Juntos Films. Hervé has written, directed (“The Power of Speech,” “The Lost City”) and produced (María Paz González ‘s “Daughter”) several feature films, documentaries and TV [...]

  • Noele trailer Anna Kendrick

    Disney Unveils 'Noelle' Trailer Starring Anna Kendrick, Bill Hader

    Among the many announcements at the D23 Expo, Disney debuted the first look at holiday feature “Noelle,” which is set to premiere exclusively on Disney Plus this fall. “It isn’t Christmas without Santa’s Sister,” Walt Disney Studios said of the film on Twitter. Starring Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader, the Christmas flick tells the story [...]

  • A Hidden Life Movie Austria

    Film News Roundup: Austin Festival Selects Terrence Malick's 'A Hidden Life'

    In today’s film news roundup, the Austin Film Festival selects a Terrence Malick title, “A Day Without a Mexican” gets a sequel and DCR Finance signs a first-look deal. FESTIVAL SCREENING The Austin Film Festival will screen Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life,” which won the Francois Chalais and Ecumenical Jury awards at the Cannes Film [...]

  • Blake Lively

    Blake Lively's 'Rhythm Section' Moved Back to 2020

    Paramount Pictures has moved the release date of Blake Lively’s “The Rhythm Section” back two months from Nov. 22 to Jan. 31, 2020, the weekend of Super Bowl LIV. The spy tale, adapted from Mark Burnell’s novels surrounding character Stephanie Patrick, is produced by James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson through their [...]

  • The Mandalorian

    'The Mandalorian': Watch the First Trailer for 'Star Wars' Series

    The gunslinging lone warrior — the Mandalorian, as they call him — calls the far reaches of the “Star Wars” galaxy home. Disney dropped the first trailer for the spinoff series during its biennial D23 convention on Friday, finally giving fans a closer look at the franchise’s newest character. “The Mandalorian” creator Jon Favreau, who [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content