Australia Eyes Increased Incentives As Studios Face Make-Or-Break Point

Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney

With The Wolverine, The Great Gatsby, Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies and the Evil Dead remake shooting in the southern hemisphere, it might appear that all is rosy on the location front Down Under. But the reality is that as the Oz dollar has soared since 2010 – it’s currently about even with the greenback – all but two major Hollywood productions have bypassed Australia as a shooting location. With the New Zealand dollar trading at only 83 U.S. cents, the exchange rate there is better. And, after Hobbiton packs up, James Cameron will crank up the two Avatar sequels, filling a potential gap.

But a chorus of execs at major Oz studios, post houses and Ausfilm, the group that markets Australia as a location, warn that Australia won’t attract large-scale international productions unless the location tax credit is lifted to 30%. The Oz government is considering calls to raise the offset from 16.5% as part of a new national cultural policy that’s due to be announced soon. “It’s make-or-break,” says Fox Studios Australia chief exec Nancy Romano, who has two U.S. features potentially lined up for 2013, but only if the incentive is raised. (more…)

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