Matrix makers ditch Sydney for latest film
Channing Tatum ... his new film Jupiter Ascending won't be filmed in Sydney. Photo: Reuters
AUSTRALIA has lost a $200 million film by the makers of the Matrix movies that would have employed 2000 people because the federal government refuses to increase financial support, apart from a one-off boost for Hugh Jackman's The Wolverine.
The producer-director team of Wachowski siblings have taken their sci-fi film Jupiter Ascending, to star Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis and which would have been made entirely in Sydney, to Britain, having been dissuaded from producing the film in Australia because of the high value of the dollar.
Another film mooted for Fox Studios next year, Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Captain Nemo, directed by Oscar-nominated David Fincher and possibly to star Brad Pitt, hangs in the balance.
Mila Kunis. Photo: Reuters
There is no international feature film scheduled for Australia during the next 12 months, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance's director of entertainment and crew, Mal Tulloch, said.
''The one-off funding for The Wolverine gave the federal government a lot of good publicity,'' he said. ''Now it's time to put up or shut up.''
The government gave $12.8 million to The Wolverine - the equivalent of boosting the usual 16.5 per cent location offset rebate to 30 per cent. In all, taxpayers contributed more than $25 million to the project.
The Arts Minister, Simon Crean, told Fairfax Media this month he would take a proposal to cabinet to more broadly apply a 30 per cent location offset.
But the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, who visited The Wolverine set on Friday, has been noncommittal on widening the offset.
The Ausfilm chief executive, Debra Richards, said Andy and Lana (formerly Laurence) Wachowski did not make a formal proposal to the government. ''But on the back of the one-off for The Wolverine, they indicated to us they were interested in making the film in Australia if the 30 per cent location offset eventuated. Film producers want to come and work with our crews,'' she said.
Mr Tulloch said that without a widened offset for international films there would be a ''huge employment problem'' when The Wolverine finished and Australian crew returned from Mad Max: Fury Road in Namibia.