Sydney has beaten Vancouver to James Mangold’s The Wolverine, the sixth film in the X-Men franchise, principally because the Australian Government is providing a one-off cash incentive of $13.2m (A$12.8m).
“We moved from Vancouver for economic reasons,” said line producer Joe Caracciolo, who was representing Twentieth Century Fox at a media conference held at digital production house Animal Logic in Sydney this morning. “More and more there is pressure on the costs of pictures and the numbers were not adding up (in Canada).”
Big Hollywood blockbusters are not arriving on Australia’s shores in the numbers they used to because of the strength of the Australian dollar; the government has made it very clear that the cash payment is a one-off but has noted that it is what the film would get if the location offset was increased from its current rate of 15 per cent to 30 per cent, fuelling speculation that this incentive may be increased for all big-budget non-Australian films, not just those starring Hugh Jackman.
Once the Australian government had secured The Wolverine, several states fought to get the film, which tells a story set in Japan, and the NSW government won with an additional cash payment and payroll tax relief.
The key speaker at this morning’s media conference, NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner expects the film to spend more than US$82.6m (A$80m) in his state and create 720 jobs for local cast and crew and 1,200 jobs for extras.
The producers on The Wolverine are Lauren Shuler Donner, Jackman and John Palermo.
“It is a testament to our screen industry that Hugh Jackman and his team have chosen to come back to NSW, after such a positive experience making the X-Men Origins: Wolverine here in 2008,” said Stoner.
Post-production facilities have been particularly hit by the downturn in international production. Most of the post-production work on The Wolverine will occur in the US but some of the visual effects work will occur in NSW. “Productions like this are a tremendous boost to tourism with Sydney capturing media attention around the globe,” said Stoner.
Fox has scheduled The Wolverine for release in July 2013.