Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Govt dumps Lord of the Rings TV deal

The New Zealand Government won’t proceed with a deal to support the Lord of the Rings TV Series, following the decision by Amazon Studios to shift production of future seasons to the United Kingdom.

Economic Development Minister, Stuart Nash said he was disappointed by the studio’s decision.

“The government was informed of the decision yesterday,” Mr Nash said.

“Amazon Studios advised that post-production work on Season One will continue in New Zealand till June 2022. However Season Two will be filmed in the UK as part of a strategy by the studio to expand its production space and consolidate its footprint in the UK.

“I am enormously proud of the New Zealand screen sector. The Amazon Studios’ decision in no way reflects the capabilities of our local film industry or the talents of the people who work in it. This is a multi-national company that has made a commercial choice.

“With Season One, the New Zealand screen sector has proven its reputation for offering a world-class workforce, globally competitive sound stages and post-production facilities, and a safe destination with outstanding scenery and friendly and welcoming people.”

Mr Nash said the previously agreed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Amazon Studios would no longer proceed in its current form.

“The five percent incentive previously offered on top of the standard 20 percent rebate for all international film productions is withdrawn,” he said.

“As with every other international production, Amazon Studios is eligible for a 20 per cent rebate on its qualifying production expenditure in this country, under the terms of the International Screen Production Grant.

“It is estimated that Amazon Studios’ qualifying local expenditure totals around NZD $663.74 million so it could potentially be eligible for a NZD $132 million rebate under the 20 percent rule.

“The international film sector is incredibly competitive and highly mobile. We have no regrets about giving this production our best shot with government support. However we are disappointed for the local screen industry. Work will continue across government on ways to keep supporting the sector,” Minister Nash said.

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