×

Warner’s ‘Meg’ Helps Launch New Zealand’s Kumeu Film Studio (EXCLUSIVE)

New Zealand’s newest production facility, the Kumeu Film Studio is to launch thanks to a three-way partnership built around the China-Hollywood co-produced, action-adventure film “Meg.”

The studio facility in Kumeu was initially developed for the filming of the Jon Turteltaub-directed movie. Starring Jason Statham and Li Bingbing in a tale of a submersible vehicle under attack from a mysterious sea creature, the production made use of the part-built facility’s two water tanks.

Leaving these behind for use by other film and TV productions enabled the film to qualify for New Zealand Screen Production Grant’s 5% uplift, a financial bonus only available to a handful of productions that can demonstrate significant economic benefits to the country.

“This private and public sector partnership recognizes the significant economic, cultural and industry development benefits that ‘Meg’ will bring to New Zealand,” said NZFC chief executive Dave Gibson. The film “also broadens the perception of the New Zealand screen industry by showcasing Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf and the depth of New Zealand cast and crew.”

With a budget estimated at $150 million, “Meg” is co-financed by Flagship Entertainment, Gravity Pictures, a division of China Media Capital (CMC), and Warner Bros. It was this week confirmed as releasing in August 2018. It was previously announced as opening in China at Chinese New Year 2018 through Gravity, and through Warner in March 2018.

The complex is built on private land in West Auckland and is backed by the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Warner Bros. Pictures and China’s Gravity Pictures. It will be operated under a 12-year lease by ATEED.

“It is great to have an additional facility in New Zealand, a place I know well. I love to produce films there,” said “Meg” executive producer Barrie Osborne (“Lord of the Rings”.)

When the complex is completed with its two sound stages in February 2018, Kumeu Film Studios will double Auckland’s screen studio infrastructure, and enable large scale screen productions in the region. The stages are both 2,336.3m2 (25,000ft2) and offer 14m (45.9ft) minimum internal height.

“While Auckland currently attracts large-scale production through its world class crew, production talent and locations, our full potential has been hampered by a lack of studio space, until now,” said ATEED chief executive, Brett O ‘Riley.

The 27ha site includes an indoor 5m deep, 1.3 million litre dive tank; and an outdoor 3m deep, 2.5 million litre ocean horizon tank backed by an 864 sq m green screen wall. The studio also has a 4,036 sq m ((43,448 ft2) stage, 1,215m2 (13,084 ft2) production offices, a 12 hectare (30 acres) forested back lot, and a 6,160m2 (66,305 ft2) workshop and manufacturing space.

“Meg” cast included acclaimed New Zealand performer Cliff Curtis, as the kiwi character Mac, a role which is both prominent and significant to the storyline. And the production also made use of Moxion.io, a New Zealand technology company, to provide access to dailies within New Zealand via a viewing platform for the film and TV market.

 

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Empty movie theater

    Cinemark Cuts Employee Wages Temporarily After Coronavirus Closes Theaters

    Cinemark is temporarily reducing wages for all U.S. employees while its theaters remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. With these measures, workers salaries will be cut by around 50%. All employees are working reduced hours and will still maintain full benefits. Cinemark’s CEO Mark Zoradi and the board of directors are voluntarily forgoing their [...]

  • Lionsgate

    Lionsgate Layoffs Hit Feature Film Marketing and Distribution Department

    Lionsgate has laid off nearly 20 employees, primarily in its feature film marketing and distribution department, sources tell Variety. The cuts had been in the works for months as part of a restructuring and were not influenced by the coronavirus outbreak, Lionsgate said. No other layoffs are currently planned, and most, but not all, were [...]

  • Visions du Réel Reimagined as Digital

    Switzerland's Visions du Réel Reimagined as Digital Only Event

    Visions du Réel, a film festival in Nyon, Switzerland, has changed the format of its next edition to accommodate the restrictions imposed by the Swiss government in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Originally planned to run from April 24 to May 2, the festival will now be a digital-only event held over a longer period, [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Announces Dues Extension Program for Members During Coronavirus Pandemic

    SAG-AFTRA has developed a program to provide dues relief for SAG-AFTRA members during the Covid-19 pandemic with an extension of the May 1 deadline. “Members experiencing financial hardship resulting from work stoppages related to Covid-19 will be granted a due date extension and an installment plan for those payments,” the union said. “As part of [...]

  • Studio Babelsberg

    Terminated 'Matrix 4,' 'Uncharted' Film Crews Demand Help From Studio Babelsberg

    Germany’s Studio Babelsberg is seeking to find a settlement with hundreds of film crew members following the shutdown earlier this month of Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix 4” and Sony Pictures’ “Uncharted” amid the coronavirus outbreak. The production stop has left many independent film crew members without pay and more than 300 have formed a working [...]

  • Empty movie theater

    Theater Owners Create $2.4 Million Fund for Cinema Workers

    The National Association of Theatre Owners and the Pioneers Assistance Fund have created an initial $2.4 million fund to provide financial assistance to movie theater employees who need help due to the coronavirus pandemic. The organizations said Monday that the first part of the initiative is a grant program that will provide a stipend to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content