Marvel's next Thor film will shoot in Australia thanks to a multi-million dollar government spending spree.
Thor: Love and Thunder has been lured to Sydney after the Federal government dipped into its $140 million funding pool for major Hollywood productions. The New South Wales government has also lent its support to wrestle the franchise away from its former Queensland home.
New Zealand director Taika Waititi will once again helm the film. Production for the new superhero flick – set to star Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth – will kick-off in March 2020, with filming to begin in August that year. The movie's predecessor, Thor: Ragnarok, was filmed in Brisbane and the Gold Coast thanks, in part, to incentives from the Queensland government.
As part of the government spending spree, Love and Thunder will also see Marvel Studios offer a trainee program for Australian film students. The traineeships will be available to people studying at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, National Institute of Dramatic Arts as well as local universities.
Hemsworth said the current plan is for the whole film to be shot in NSW but it's still "early days".
"My goal has been to shoot here more often," he said. "There's such an incredible work ethic here. Being able to stay home and put the kids to bed in their own home as opposed to dragging them across the globe to various hotels is [also] hugely important. My wife is certainly happy."
Federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said Love and Thunder will help maintain Australia's Hollywood-friendly image. He also said the film, which will be shot at Sydney's Fox Studios, could inject more than $178 million into the local economy.
"What I want to see is a vigorous, thriving film industry and opportunities being taken up by Australian crew and Australian film professionals," he said. "This facility here at Fox Studios is a very impressive, world-class facility and I think we're seeing a very powerful endorsement of that."
Ausfilm chief executive Debra Richards described Friday's news as "another incredible win" for the local screen industry. Love and Thunder will be the second Marvel film to be shot in Sydney next year, with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings also coming to the New South Wales capital.
"International productions of this scale offer real job growth and career progression for Australians," she said. "Films like this can train-up and develop
hundreds of people."
The announcement comes just weeks after it was revealed senior bureaucrats told the Morrison government its Hollywood incentive scheme is no longer competitive. Australia's standard location offset of 16.5 per cent is now "the lowest in the world", according to a high-level government briefing.
The offset, which sees international productions receive a tax rebate for coming to Australia, is well below the national incentives offered by countries
such as New Zealand and the United Kingdom (20 to 25 per cent respectively).
As a result, the federal government has set up an additional $140 million funding pool called the location incentive. The Government is siphoning $24.1
million from that pool into Love and Thunder and says taxpayers will see a major return on the investment. But the location incentive hasn't
satisfied everyone, with high-profile producers claiming the fund is a short-term fix and more needs to be done to support the local screen industry.
July 26, 2019 www.smh.com.au