The federal government has agreed to offer the Walt Disney Studios a $21.6 million incentive to shoot Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in Australia.
That package had been offered to Disney by the previous Labor government to film the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea remake in Oz but that project was shelved after director David Fincher departed.
Disney asked the government to reassign the funds to Pirates 5 and to boost the total incentive to 30% of the budget, which is reportedly more than $200 million.
A spokesman for Arts Minister George Brandis said, "The government is pleased to agree to Disney's request to enable earlier funding to be repurposed for the production of Pirates of the Caribbean 5."
The statement continued, "Any decision to film productions in Australia (such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or Pirates of the Caribbean 5) is a commercial matter for Disney."
That implies the government is unwilling to offer more than $21.6 million and thus if Disney is still seeking incentives equal to 30% of the budget the studio would be asking state agencies to make up the difference.
The studio is said to be weighing a counter offer from Mexico to shoot at the water tank where James Cameron made Titanic. Production is due to start in early 2015 and Disney has set the US release as July 7 2017.
Queensland Arts Minister Ian Walker told local media that North Queensland’s locations are “a movie-maker’s dream.” Walker added, “We’ve done what we can on the corporate side to get this deal made. Now it’s up to Disney.”
Two weeks ago the MEAA wrote to Brandis in support of Disney’s request and to press for a permanent increase to the location offset from 16.5% to 30%.
As IF has reported, MEAA members have endorsed an in-principle industrial agreement between the Disney Studios and the union for Pirates 5.
Mal Tulloch, the MEAA’s director, entertainment, crew and sport, told IF today, “We have agreed to fair and reasonable conditions. We welcome the federal government’s decision to make shooting in Australia more competitive and hope the incentive will be raised permanently to encourage more productions to come to Australia.”