Hollywood Films Boost Australian Production Revenues to Record Highs


'San Andreas', 'Gods Of Egypt' and 'Unbroken' are just three major titles that have been shot Down Under in the last 12 months

Film and TV production in Australia hit a record $737 million (AUS $847 million) in the year to June 30, 2014, an increase of 11 percent on the previous year thanks in part to international productions like Dwayne Johnson-starrer San Andreas and Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken and local films such as Alex ProyasGods Of Egypt and Russell Crowe’s directorial debut, The Water Diviner, according to Screen Australia’s annual Drama Production Report, which was released on Thursday.

Local feature production was up 18 percent by value year-over-year with $258 million spent on making 35 features, also boosted by international co-productions such as Life and animated feature Maya The Bee Movie, while foreign production was up a massive 50 percent with 26 foreign projects shooting Down Under totaling $171 million, according to the report. TV drama production was down 8 percent from last year but still accounted for nearly half of the value of production at $298 million.

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“It’s been a strong year for Australian production with an exciting lineup of content to hit our screens next year. While local content is still the main game and the bedrock of our industry, we’ve seen a boost in total production with top-profile talent such as Angelina Jolie choosing our shores and crews to make their films," said Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason.

“Healthy domestic production levels continued with local TV and feature films accounting for over 76 percent of the overall drama production expenditure in 2013-14 — a substantial $557 million. It has been a solid year for local features, recording the strongest result in five years. And significant foreign production has returned to our shores this year, building on the strength and skills of our local production sector,” Mason said.  

The fall in the value of the Australian dollar against the U.S. dollar in the last nine months means that trend will likely continue, with international production for 2015 headlined by Pirates Of The Caribbean 5, which is set to start filming in Queensland in January. That’s being billed as the most expensive film ever to shoot Down Under.

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However the record-high production levels are being tempered by projected budget cuts at Screen Australia — one of the main sources of production funding in the country for the independent film and TV sector — and potential funding cuts of $43.5 million a year to the budgets of Australia’s two public broadcasters, as well as a lower-than-expected box-office share for local features that’s been predicted at just 2 percent for 2014.

South Australia was the “go to” state for production in 2014, with production levels increasing there by 9 percent year on year. SA hosted features such as The Water Diviner and TV series including the upcoming Sam Worthington-produced mini-series Deadline Gallipoli and ABCTV drama Anzac Girls.