Screen production drops in New Zealand

‘Avengers: Infinity War’

New Zealand’s screen production revenue fell by 20 per cent to $NZ1 billion in 2017-2018, due primarily to a drop in feature films, according to a new report.

However post-production revenue increased by 21 per cent to $NZ760 million thanks to films such as Avengers: Infinity War, Mortal Engines and Alita: Battle Angel.

StatsNZ said total screen industry revenue was $NZ3.3 billion, down $NZ268 million or 8 per cent on the previous year’s peak of $NZ3.5 billion, also caused by falls in broadcasting and distribution, particularly in Auckland.

Revenue from productions including Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Daffodils and Mulan dropped by $NZ245 million, despite a 9 per cent increase in government funding to $NZ227 million. New Zealand Screen Production Grant funding almost doubled to $NZ96 million.

While revenue for production companies fell, contracting businesses saw an increase in production and post-production revenue, up 17 per cent to $NZ1 billion.

“We had a big year in 2017 for film production while in 2018 we saw a cooling of production work,” StatsNZ business performance manager Geraldine Duoba said.

NZFC CEO Annabelle Sheehan said the 2018 decline was typical of the cyclical screen industry, which over time has shown sustained growth.

“The 2018-19 year is already looking very strong. Eight local feature films have already gone into production. We also saw big increases in international series drama from late 2018. So far 20 international features, drama and factual series have committed to New Zealand for the 2018-19 year,” Sheehan said.

TV broadcasting revenue fell by $NZ153 million to $NZ1.2 billion, attributed by Duoba to the shift in audiences from pay TV to streaming platforms such as Netflix and Lightbox.

Exhibition revenue rose by 5 per cent to $NZ208 million while broadcaster funding and financing fell by 12 per cent to $NZ47 million.

In 2017 the screen industry employed 16,200 people for a total of 29,700 jobs, up 3,100 jobs from 2016.