‘Thor: Ragnarok’ and ‘Alien: Paradise Lost’ Set to Film in Australia
Australia can be a dangerous place. If you’re not worried about the deeply ingrained culture of racism (and why wouldn’t you be worried about that, where’s your sense of right and wrong, your mother raised you better than this), there are still kangaroos capable of kicking a hole directly through your sternum, octopi that hold the title of Most Venomous Marine Creature on the Planet, and megasized prehistoric insects. It would take a lot to get an American film crew to schlep all the way to the Land Down Under, an island continent abandoned by whatever kind deity presides over this world. Fortunately for the local economy, the Australian government has been willing to go the distance to do just that.
Over the past year, Australia has ramped up its program of government-provided incentives in order to lure film crews so that they might provide the locals with jobs during production. It’s worked, too — last year, the Aussie government granted a $21.6 million support package ($15.6 million in U.S. dollars) to the crew of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales for shooting locally. Now, the major trade papers have confirmed that Disney will return to Australia next year to shoot Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, where they’ll be joined by 20th Century Fox, who’ll reap those sweet, sweet benefits for their 2016 shoot of Ridley Scott’s new Alien film, tentatively titled Alien: Paradise Lost.
This same sort of process took place on a smaller scale in America, by the way. Five-ish years ago, the state of Louisiana aggressively ramped up its policy of tax breaks for film crews shooting in-state, and without fail, studio productions started to flood New Orleans and the idyllic surrounding parishes. Loads and loads of recent studio releases have substituted New Orleans for Pretty-to-Look-At-ville, USA, from 22 Jump Street subbing Tulane University’s campus in for their fictitious college, to Django Unchained roaming the plantations dotting the rural areas. Even David Gordon Green’s upcoming release Our Brand Is Crisis passed off Tulane’s auditorium as the site of a Bolivian political debate.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, America’s sweetheart that he is, has announced a plan to gradually scale back the tax breaks in the hopes that Hollywood South will continue to thrive anyway and start funneling the real money into the state, and so it’s only natural to assume that Australia’s government may pursue a similar course of action once the time is right. But for the time being, get used to seeing a lot of lifeless sandy expanses in your studio tentpoles.