Lights out for 'Green Lantern' in Oz

Louisiana a possible replacement for Warner Bros. shoot

Is "Green Lantern" bound for Louisiana?

Warner Bros.' DC Comics project had been eyeing a shoot in Australia but said it was pulling out for several of reasons, including the weakening of the U.S. dollar.

The studio said Friday through Aussie agency Screen NSW that "the current global economic situation, including fluctuations in currency valuation and overall costs," forced the decision.

On Friday, the Australian dollar hit a 27-year high against the U.S. dollar, closing at 95 cents, a 30% decrease in value for the greenback since the Down Under shoot was announced six months ago. Returning the shoot stateside will save more than $20 million.

The Aussie dollar is being tipped by analysts to reach parity with the U.S. dollar during the coming weeks and could go as high as AUS$1.10 next year.

Producers have quietly been scouting locations in the U.S. and Canada for the comic book adaptation directed by Martin Campbell and starring Ryan Reynolds, though efforts seem to be zeroing in on Louisiana. Producer Donald De Line and other key creative personnel have made scouting trips to the state during the past two weeks and have put a hold on stages, though in what part of the state remains unclear.

Louisiana has one of the strongest tax incentives in the U.S. on top of a well-developed film infrastructure. Sony's "Battle: Los Angeles," Disney's "Secretariat" and Screen Gems' "Straw Dogs" currently are shooting there.

The state is not set as the location as officials there don't consider any deal done until cameras roll; because of the competitive nature of enticing film productions, projects have been known to switch locales as late as a week before shooting.

Warners has not given up on Australia completely: Big-ticket animated features "Guardians of Ga'Hoole" and "Happy Feet 2" are in production in Sydney. However, when it comes to live action, Walden Media's "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" is the only big-budget offshore feature being shot there, at the Warner Roadshow Studios in Queensland.

The NSW government said in April it had secured the "Lantern" shoot at Fox Studios and production was to have started in next month. It is set for a summer 2011 release.

Borys Kit reported from Los Angeles; Pip Bulbeck reported from Sydney.
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