The Walt Disney Studios has asked the federal government for a 30% incentive to shoot a big budget feature in Australia next year.
The previous Labor government promised to pay Disney $21.6 million to make 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo here.
While that project is stalled, with no director since David Fincher departed, Disney is now asking for that money to be applied to another film and the funding to be topped up to 30%.
IF understands the film is Pirates of the Caribbean 5, which Disney has dated for July 7 2017. Johnny Depp is set to return to the follow-up to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, entitled Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, alongside Christoph Waltz, Geoffrey Rush, Jack Davenport and, rumour has it, Keith Richards.
Disney’s pitch to the government surfaced last week when the MEAA wrote to Arts Minister Senator George Brandis in support of Disney’s request and to press for a permanent increase to the location offset from 16.5% to 30%.
MEAA officials have met with Disney executives to start thrashing out an industrial agreement for the feature, which it did not name but said is proposed to shoot in Australia at the start of 2015.
“The strong Australian dollar and increased competition between international jurisdictions has led to some of the lowest offshore production on record,” Mal Tulloch, the MEAA’s director, entertainment, crew and sport said in his letter to Brandis.
The production is mooted to be biggest international feature to be made in this country, Tulloch said.
The MEAA is aware of a significant number of productions that have applied for a one-off increase in the offset but none has come to fruition. “As a result of uncertainty in this area Australia is now being overlooked by international feature film producers,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Arts confirmed to IF, "The Government is currently in discussions with Disney on possible productions it may wish to film in Australia. These discussions are commercial in confidence."
The union is arranging meetings with technicians to consider the proposed employment conditions on the Disney film at its offices in Sydney and Melbourne on Thursday evening..