Industry Report: Focus: Asia & Oceania
U.S. production shuts out Australia
by by Paul Chai - Variety
- Lensing of U.S. productions in Australia has hit a dry spell, with not one big-budget Hollywood feature shot in Oz in the past 12 months, the first yearlong lapse in nearly 20 years.
The drought was highlighted in the annual Screen Australia Drama Production Survey, which showed foreign production in Australia had plunged from A$251 million ($227 million) last year to just $20 million in 2008-09. Just six foreign films — all Indian — shot on Aussie soil in that time frame.
The number of big-budget pics has been trending down in recent years, but the lack of even a single big U.S. title is still a blow. Likely to boost next year's figures, however, are The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Miramax's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, now shooting in Queensland and Victoria, respectively.
The news was good for Oz when it came to local fare, with TV the biggest winner — with the value of total production up to $279 million from $233 million — and local children's drama was up 45%, reflecting increased demand ahead from dedicated kids net ABC3 and new feevee kids channels.
Combined value of television and film production for the year rose to $624 million in 2008-09, up $8 million over last year.
New Zealand has seen a boom in international shoots thanks largely to local hero Peter Jackson, with The Lovely Bones, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn and District 9 all partly lensing there. The Kiwis are also set to host The Hobbit prequels.