Hobbit trilogy collects $120m in New Zealand filming incentives over four years
Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy has collected USD 120 million in filming incentive payments from the New Zealand government over the course of a four-year production process. Trilogy closer The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies will be released in cinemas in December.
Warner Bros subsidiary 3 Foot 7 reported receipt of filming incentive payments worth almost USD 45 million for the 2013/14 financial year, according to the National Business Review. The figure represented about 20% of production costs for the year.
Incentive payments have fluctuated each year since production started in 2011, but overall the company spent about USD 740 million on three movies and got a total filming incentive worth about 16% of that figure.
New Zealand suffered an international production decline after principal photography wrapped on the Hobbit films, partly because of a filming incentive programme that was not as generous as many of its global competitors. In response, the government has launched the Screen Production Grant, which boosted support for big-budget shoots. The move helped secure James Cameron’s Avatar sequels, which will spend at least USD 400 million in New Zealand.
Australia remains a major rival to New Zealand and is currently attracting more high-profile Hollywood productions. The country secured The Wolverine and, more recently, Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken and Dwayne Johnson’s San Andreas, an earthquake drama that doubled Queensland for California. Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is set to become the country’s biggest ever movie production.
The Australian government now routinely negotiates large one-off payments to bring in big-budget features, and this seems to be a major factor behind the country’s recent successes.
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