Warner Bros in Los Angeles and the Premier of New South Wales Bob Carr in Sydney simultaneously announced today that Australia will host production of two sequels to the action thriller The Matrix, Warner Bros' biggest hit to date with a worldwide gross of US$450m. Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving all having committed.

There will be some preliminary shooting in LA but US producer Joel Silver, Australian producer Andrew Mason, and directors Larry and Andy Wachowski will principally base themselves at Fox Studios Australia for nine months from September. Many Sydney locations will once again be utilised.

During an informal press conference on the Fox lawns, Carr claimed The Matrix II and The Matrix III represented the biggest film project in Warner Bros. history. They would create 1,050 direct jobs, 1,000 indirect jobs, 7,000 days of work for extras, and 10,000 nights of hotel bookings.

The falling Australian dollar was of assistance in winning the film despite competition from the UK and Canada, he said, but so too were the strength of Australia's crews, locations and facilities.