‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ and ‘Reef Break’ to shoot in Queensland


Poppy Montgomery will star in and EP ‘Reef Break’. (Photo: Red Carpet Report on Mingle Media TV via Flickr)

Legendary Entertainment’s Godzilla vs. Kong and ABC Studios International’s 13-part series Reef Break will be shot on the Gold Coast, secured by the Federal Government’s Location Incentive Program.

The government has spent $16 million from the $140 million program, first announced ahead of the Federal Budget, in order to attract the two productions.

Both projects will kick off before the end of the year, and together are estimated to generate $100 million and employ 1,300 people. The productions follow on from Dora the Explorer, which is currently shooting at Village Roadshow Studios.

The Location Incentive Program – a grant that will be delivered over four years from 2019-2020 – is effectively a top-up for the 16.5 per cent Location Offset, which is widely regarded by industry as uncompetitive when compared to rebates in other territories designed to attract footloose production.

Legendary Entertainment has previously shot Pacific Rim: Uprising and Kong: Skull Island in Australia, and the company’s creative executive Jay Ashenfelter said the crews, facilities and locations down under made it an ideal location for Godzilla vs. Kong. It will be directed by Adam Wingard and star Kiwi Julian Dennison (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Deadpool 2) and Stranger Things‘ Millie Bobby Brown.

Local actress Poppy Montgomery will star in and executive produce Reef Break, which is being made by the Disney-owned ABC Studios International with French broadcaster M6. According to Variety, it was based on an idea of Montgomery’s and will be showrun by Ken Sanzel. Montgomery plays Cat Chambers, a thief-turned-fixer for the governor of a stunning and seductive Pacific Island archipelago.

ABC Studios International co-produced Hoodlum’s Harrow, which shot in Brisbane, and will also produce Stan’s The Gloaming with Sweet Potato Films in Tasmania.

“We appreciate the skills of the Australian crew and actors and look forward to showcasing Australia’s stunning locations to the world,” said ABC Studios International managing director, international content, platform and talent Keli Lee.

As a condition of the Location Incentive program, productions are also required to utilise post-production, digital or visual effects services in Australia; who has won those contracts has not yet been announced.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was thrilled the first two grants were awarded to such major projects.

“These projects will bring hundreds of jobs to the Gold Coast and further cement its reputation as one of the best places in the world to make movies.

“I’ve visited some of the businesses that service the film industry on the Gold Coast and they are the best at what they do.

“We want to keep securing big projects like these ones, so local businesses can thrive and keep employing Australians.”

Both productions have also received funding from the Queensland Government via its Production Attraction Strategy. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she had met with executives with from both Legendary and Disney during a trade mission in June.

“We’ve been trying to lure some of the biggest movie makers for years with Queensland’s amazing production facilities, film locations and our attraction fund however the sticking point has been always been the reluctance of the Federal Government to put their money where their mouth is and match the tax offsets on offer from other countries.

“Now that we have secured the increase to the tax offset we need, we’ll be doing all we can to continue to lure the big name productions that will continue to put Queensland on the map and create jobs.”

The news of the two productions has been welcomed by industry organisation Ausfilm, with CEO Debra Richards saying it will be a tremendous boon for local businesses.

“Without the Government’s competitive incentives these productions would have gone elsewhere,” she said.

“Ausfilm and its membership see first-hand through regular enquiries from the US and other territories including China, that the new Location Incentive demonstrates to the global screen market that the Australian Government has created a positive policy change that says ‘Australia is open for business’.”

Ausfilm is currently preparing for its 10th Ausfilm Week in Los Angeles. As part of its 20th year celebrations, it will lead its biggest delegation of over 40 representatives from 28 of Australia’s leading film and television businesses and federal and state government screen agencies to Los Angeles later this month.