The producer-financier has tentatively lined up a September start in the Australian state of New South Wales on the follow-up to its box office hit Tomorrow When The War Began.

Stuart Beattie returns as writer-director and Caitlin Stasey will reprise her role as the leader of a group of friends who become freedom fighters following an alien invasion. The story will be based on the second book in John Marsden’s series.

Tomorrow When The War Began was the highest grossing Australia film in Australia in 2010 on $13.5m. Inferno Entertainment handled international sales outside Australia and New Zealand and Paramount is releasing in several territories including the UK on Apr 8.

Omnilab Media said it had secured a “substantial” state government grant and added the production would generate more than 450 local jobs and inject more than $40m into the economy

“We have worked hard to build up our Australian business into an internationally successful company employing more than 800 people in Australia and with a solid base of government support,” Omnilab Media managing director Christopher Mapp said. “Omnilab is able to not just support these jobs in post-production and visual effects but also support and create more jobs across the whole spectrum of the film industry.

“Without government support, many of these film, VFX and post production people could leave NSW to gain employment overseas. This investment allows us to keep these skilled practitioners working in Australia, contribute to the local economy and help grow and secure the future of NSW’s film industry.