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Future of new Auckland studio confirmed

The NZFC and ATEED have confirmed the deal which will see the facilities in Kumeu, developed for Meg, become an ongoing fixture. The deal is a partnership with Meg US producers Warner Bros. Pictures and China’s Gravity Pictures.

The country’s first film studio water tanks were built for the production, an indoor dive tank and an outdoor ocean horizon tank with a green screen wall. The facility also has a 4,000m2 stage, production offices, a forested back lot, plus workshop facilities.

Auckland has struggled with a lack of studio space for several years, a situation which worsened after one of the studios in Henderson burned down during the shoot for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II in 2014. ATEED’s previous attempt at securing new studio space, which required Auckland Council to sign off on using land in Hobsonville Point, failed late in 2015.

The Kumeu Film Studios deal sees the tanks and other infrastructure created for Meg (estimated value $2 million) remain. The landowner will build new sound stage facilities, to come online next year, and gets some surety going forward with ATEED leasing the site for four years. Meg’s producers get provisional approval of the 5% uplift of the New Zealand Screen Production Grant incentive (to 25%) for the production, although the studio deal isn’t the only thing they’re doing to secure that. Warners intends to bring more productions to Kumeu during the next few years.

Outdoor tank and green screen
Photo: Screen Auckland

“This private and public sector partnership recognises the significant economic, cultural and industry development benefits that Meg will bring to New Zealand,” said NZFC Chief Executive Dave Gibson.

Originally slated to premiere during Chinese New Year celebrations in March 2018, Meg’s release has been pushed back to August next year.

Top Image: KFS indoor water tank. Photo: Manu One

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