Macquarie Bank and the Nine Network's production subsidiary today (March 21) formally announced a bold plan to entice investors to provide up to $33.2m (A$62.5m) for the production of eight feature films, two TV series and two telemovies. The third partner in the equation is Hoyts Distribution, which will distribute all the features in Australia.
Features to be made, if the unlisted investment fund is fully subscribed, will include the $10.6m (A$20m) Fast Car to be produced by director Bill Bennett, projects by producers Martin Brown (Moulin Rouge) and Tristam Miall (Strictly Ballroom), and a second film by producers Bryan Brown and Debbie Balderstone, who are just finishing off Dirty Deeds.
Prospectuses often hit the marketplace at this time of the year hoping to interest investors with spare cash looking for tax deductions but usually they are not for a slate of projects. They also do not usually promise a minimum income of 50% of the investment amount - in this case it is being provided by Nine -- nor a loan facility for up to 100% of the investment.
No formal confirmation has come from the Australian Taxation Office, but it is expected that investors will also be able to claim a tax deduction, despite the guaranteed returns. The offer closes on June 26. Should the fund prove successful, a second one will be launched next year.
"If you do not have distribution contacts you can have the best product in the world but it can just die in the back room somewhere," said executive director of Macquarie Bank Charles Wheeler. "It is vital to have marketing expertise and access to screens in place. That is the core of why we are working with Hoyts and Nine."