Fresh plan to create ‘Hollywood of the South Pacific’
MAYOR Tom Tate says the city needs to build a second giant sound stage or risk losing silver-screen blockbusters such as Thor, Elvis and Pirates of the Caribbean.
The film studio built at Village Roadshow ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games is full with a laundry list of high-profile movies spanning well into the future.
Seven major productions have either filmed on the Coast since mid-2020 or are in production here.
The state government says the projects created more than 3000 jobs and injected $260 million into the economy.
Those lured to the Coast include Oscar-winning director Ron Howard, George Clooney and Julia Roberts. Byron Bay-based superstar Chris Hemsworth has also used his sway to secure major films to film both on the Gold Coast and Sydney so he can remain with his family while US actor Zac Efron has relocated to Australia.
However, Councillor Tate said a sound stage even bigger than Studio 9 at Oxenford was needed to capitalise on the demand and ensure the Hollywood bigwigs did not go elsewhere.
An international-quality sound stage is expected to cost more than $20m. Cr Tate wants all three tiers of government to pay for it.
He also wanted increased film industry incentives such as tax relief, financial carrots and free rent on city filming sites.
While the Gold Coast has successfully won several major projects, it has missed out on several others including Thor: Love and Thunder, either as a result of lacking studio space or to higher incentives offered by NSW.
"To be truly globally competitive in the film industry we need to ensure the necessary facilities are available 365 days of the year and a new purpose-built studio and post production facility will put us ahead of other cities not only in Australia but throughout the world.
"Quite simply, we can't afford to miss out on blockbusters that are looking for a COVID friendly and safe destination."
"My vision is for the Gold Coast to become the Hollywood of the South Pacific and this is possible because it is a viable industry which is heading towards a critical mass."
Cr Tate said beefing up the film industry would have long-term benefits.
"It's about jobs, jobs, jobs in this new economy and for each million spent in the film industry here, the economic multiplier is about 12-times that so it's great in the diversification of the economy," he said.
"We will need another studio and there is a role for council, the state and federal governments to play so we need to put the shout out to anyone wanting to make money and build the most high-tech sound stage this city has ever seen."
Cr Tate said he hoped to secure funding for the project as part of the 2032 Olympic Games infrastructure rollout.
Australian director Baz Luhrmann recently wrapped filming on his big-budget Elvis biopic while Ron Howard is continuing to shoot Thirteen Lives, a thriller about the 2018 Thai caves rescue.
As filming begins this week on season two of the US series The Wilds, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has revealed an "outstanding calendar" of productions is in the pipeline for Gold Coast in the coming year.
"This is boom time for Queensland's screen industry and it means jobs for Queenslanders, and millions of dollars for our economy," she said.
"Over the last year, we've seen unprecedented interest from global production companies keen to film here. We're capitalising on this great opportunity to grow our screen sector - creating more local jobs and pumping more cash into local businesses.
"We have an outstanding calendar of productions soon to be filmed on the Coast. And I'm sure we'll continue to secure more in the future."
Gold Coast film and TV projects post lockdown:
● BAZ LUHRMANN'S ELVIS BIOPIC
Announced in 2019 but filmed in 2020, this big-budget Hollywood film features an all-star cast led by Tom Hanks as Col Tom Parker, Austin Butler as Elvis Presley and Richard Roxburgh. It will be released in June 2022.
● ESCAPE FROM SPIDERHEAD
Filming began in late 2020 on this Netflix-produced, science fiction action film staring heart-throb Chris Hemsworth along with Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett.
Prior to production, it was tipped to inject $47 million into the economy and employ 360 locals.
● THE WILDS
Season 2 of the US television series, starring Rachel Griffiths, begins shooting this week and will be based at Village Roadshow Studios.
● THIRTEEN LIVES
Ron Howard's new thriller about the 2018 rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from the flooded, impenetrable cave system in Thailand. It was filmed here this year and will inject $96 million into the economy.
● BLACK SITE
An action thriller filmed on the Gold Coast this year with stars Michelle Monaghan, Jason Clarke and Jai Courtney.
● TAYLOR'S ISLAND
A US children's television series that will begin filming in July before premiering in 2022.
● TICKET TO PARADISE
A soon-to-film romantic comedy starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts lured through federal and state government incentives.
Originally published as Fresh plan to make Coast the 'Hollywood of the South Pacific'