With Australia’s film industry growing in recent years, our nation has finally been put on the Hollywood map.
With a solid history of cult classics and a flourishing performing arts scene, Australia is quickly becoming a leading hub for big budget films. Thanks to generous government grants and state-of-the-art facilities, major studios are increasingly opting to shoot in the eastern states rather than the usual Hollywood locales. Here’s a list of both recent and upcoming Hollywood films you may not have known were shot right here in Australia!
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)
Making waves as the largest cinematic production to be produced on Australian soil at the time, the Pirates of the Caribbean’s latest instalment Dead Men Tell No Tales spent years stalling in script and budgetary issues before finally beginning production after a $20 million boost from the Australian government. Filming around Queensland’s suburbs and coast, Pirates gave the state’s economy a windfall of $100 million and showcased just how photogenic Australia’s landscapes could be.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
The film that resurrected the Thor franchise and made Taika Waititi a global name, Thor: Ragnarok was shot almost entirely in Queensland’s impressive Village Roadshow Studios and locations around the state. In filming, Waititi not only gave the local economy a well-needed boost, but prioritised hiring Indigenous Australians and New Zealanders as crew. Ragnarok had a global gross of US$854 million and showed that Australia could be the backdrop for one of the world’s biggest cinematic universes.
Perth-raised director James Wan made Australia the stage for this vibrant, big-budget film telling the story of Atlantis’ missing king. While additional footage was shot internationally, most cinematography took place on the Gold Coast and opened almost 600 jobs to locals. Aquaman became DC’s highest-grossing film to date, not only securing the franchise a sequel planned for 2022, but a horror spin-off called The Trench.
Watch out Sydney, that Kaiju looks very close to the iconic Sydney Opera House!
Pacific Rim Series (2013 & 2018)
Pacific Rim (2013) made a big splash in the Australian film industry, and we are not only talking about the Kaiju nearly demolishing Sydney Opera House. NSW was once again showcased as a world-class action set, with Sydney’s modernised look appealing to films set in futuristic environments. Following on from the 2013 blockbuster, the sequel, Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018), once again utilised the Fox Stages in Sydney, with a large portion of filming conducted in and near recognisable Australian landmarks, such as Circular Quay.
It’s crazy to think this was filmed in Sydney’s beautiful Centennial park.
Peter Rabbit (2018)
Whilst originally written by British author Beatrix Potter and set in the English countryside, Peter Rabbit was actually filmed bouncing around down under! Sydney was again chosen as the primary filming location as it is the home of Animal Logic, the film’s animation company. With live action scenes shot around Centennial Park and the Central Railway Station, the lighting was set up carefully to best mimic the beautiful sunlight of the English Lakes District.
Mortal Kombat (2021)
While video game film adaptions have previously seen a less than stellar reception, the cinematic reboot of the arcade classic Mortal Kombat is already more faithful than its predecessor, with executives promising to bring the fatalities the series is infamous for to the big screen. Helmed by horror experts Atomic Monster Productions, viewers can anticipate the same terrifying ambience seen in previous flicks The Nun and Annabelle. Shot around Adelaide and South Australia in late 2019, expect to see it hit screens in April 2021.
Anticipation is high for iconic Aussie director Baz Luhrmann’s next project, the Elvis Presley biopic. The film holds a bankable cast, including Perth actress Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla, Tom Hanks as Col, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s Austin Butler as the titular rock and roll legend. Principle filming began in Queensland in January, but only time will tell where and how the movie will play out. Stay tuned for its release in November this year.
With an incredible line-up of Australia-made films gracing the big screen next year, the future of our film industry is looking bright, so keep an eye out for familiar locations next time you head to the cinemas!