EXCLUSIVE: The Australian film industry is set to be inundated with a swag of international blockbusters coming to shoot on our shores – including a Marvel superhero epic.
The news comes fresh off Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales wrapping production on the Gold Coast this month.
The $320M Disney film is credited with sparking new interest in Australia as a filming location for overseas studios.
Dead Men Tell No Tales is the fifth installment in one of Disney’s most profitable franchises and a source who worked on the Johnny Depp vehicle told Yahoo7 News that the studio’s “great experience” Down Under has led them to looking at returning with one of their superhero staples.
“The big bosses were very pleased throughout the year it took to shoot out here and now they’re looking at brining out one of the Marvel films,” said the technical specialist.
“It was a great experience for the studio who were able to familiarise themselves with the set-up at Village Roadshow (studios) and the crews here.
“They were also able to work across a lot of different locations which has saved them scouting for the Marvel movie.”
Sources suggest the Marvel superhero blockbuster would shoot in Queensland early next year, with production beginning in earnest in March.
Both Captain Marvel – the first female led comic book actioner from the studio – and Thor: Ragnarok are the titles being considered to film in Australia.
Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, may have a great deal to do with which Disney-Marvel title ends up on our shores with the Australian actor now living in Byron Bay with his wife and three children – a convenient one hour drive to the Gold Coast shooting locations.
Screen Australia and AusFilm declined to comment any potential projects.
The news comes after another blockbuster – Kong: Skull Island – prepares to film at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast for a six-week stretch.
Although majority of the shoot will be offshore, the Universal and Legendary Pictures production – which stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson and Brie Larsson – will film locally from mid-September.
Sony Pictures too are set to announce that one of their tent-pole pictures has begun production in Australia, with shooting beginning in the next few months.
Veteran Australian actor John Jarratt says the local industry is “positively buzzing” over news of the high-budget flicks heading our way.
“It’s nice to see some big interest coming back to our shores,” said the 64-year old, who is currently shooting horror film Boar in Queensland.
“There are a few big things happening with the international players and it’s good to see blockbusters being made alongside the smaller independent films, that combination of the two.
“Queensland is in a good position with the film studios there and some great local crews always at the ready… it’s good for the odd actor too.”
Jarratt added that the Australian dollar hitting a six-year low has been “doing us a lot of favours at the moment”.
While the local industry was booming with blockbusters a decade ago in the form of the Chronicles Of Narnia: Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, Superman Returns, I, Robot and The Matrix trilogy, the rising Australia dollar made it financially challenging for big-budget foreign films to shoot in Australia.
Productions that were originally destined for our shores such as the fourth Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Battleship were forced to locations like Mexico and Hawaii instead.
However, it seems the pendulum has swung back in our favour according to Yahoo7 Finance Editor Trevor Treharne.
“Put simply, overseas studios can buy more Australian dollars with their local currency today than in recent years gone by,” he says.
“In the same way Aussies enjoyed jumping online to buy overseas goods when the Aussies dollar was strong - especially during mid-2011 - it is now overseas studios which will be looking to do the same with Aussie goods and services, including filming locations in Australia.
“So today US$1 will buy you A$1.40. If you have a production budget of US$350M this will be worth A$491M (minus the exchange fees for changing the currency over).
“In more recent years the US and Australian dollar has been at parity, meaning that you are getting an extra A$141M for your US$350M investment today compared with in recent years.”
With the Australian dollar to “stay down and drop further still”, these overseas productions are likely just the beginning.
Warner Brothers were also said to have been looking at Queensland as a possible location to shoot one of their most highly anticipated superhero films, Wonder Woman with Gal Gadot and Chris Pine.
The story is rumoured to be set in World War I with executives originally looking at using SparkeFilms.
The Queensland company specialises in authentic costumes, weaponry and props from wartime periods as well as military advisors who have worked on the likes of Unbroken, Australia, The Railway Man and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
However, a producer on the project confirmed that Wonder Woman is now set to be shot in London.
News break - August 27