The attractiveness of runaway production to local economieswas made clear in Australia today with the Victorian Government announcing thatColumbia Pictures Entertainment is to film $40m GhostRider in Melbourne.

Premier Steve Bracks and the Minister for Innovation JohnBrumby said Ghost Rider, a Marvelcomic adaptation to be directed by Mark Steven Johnson and rumoured to starNicolas Cage in the title role, would shoot at the new Central City Studios.The $28m (A$40m) expected spend means it will be the largest feature ever made in thestate.

"Filming will commence next January and continue forfive months, utilising the studios and featuring extensive regional andmetropolitan locations," said Bracks.

The major summer release is expected to employ 500 people.Johnson's previous directing credits include Daredevil and he also produced Elektra.

"We took the decision to build these studios because wewanted to attract major productions and secure a long-term future for theindustry," said Bracks. "With two films already shot here, a majorinternational production now booked in, and work on a significant televisiondrama underway within weeks, the studios are ensuring Victoria is the locationof choice for high quality film and television production."

The films he is referring to are local pictures The Extra, starring Jimeoin, and Hating Alison Ashley, starring pop starDelta Goodrem, neither of which have yet been released. Central City Studiosincludes five soundstages, ranging from 25,000 square feet down to a dedicatedTV show production stage.