Wellington: New Zealand's feature film production powerhouse
Money generated by New Zealand film production has doubled, thanks to a bounce back from Wellington's movie sector.
The Statistics New Zealand screen industry survey, released on Wednesday, show the screen industry generated revenue of $3.3 billion in 2016 - up 3 per cent on the previous year. Of that, film production revenue doubled to more than $1b.
Total screen industry revenue had been stable at just over $3b for the last three years, however, 2016 saw a 15 per cent increase in revenue from businesses involved in production and post-production.
Wellington was the "powerhouse in feature film production in New Zealand", Statistics New Zealand business performance senior manager Daria Kwon said.
* Film revenue drops in Wellington, while TV production in Auckland increases
* Movie grant changes, Film New Zealand and Film Commission combine
* Health and Safety Act could attract international movie makers to New Zealand
* Government sources provided majority of funding for screen industry
* Screen industry takes 4 per cent hit
"Film production revenue of $644 million was recorded for Wellington businesses in 2016, more than double that from a relatively slow year in 2015."
Wellington-based Park Road Post Production chief executive Cameron Harland said the Government's support had contributed to strong demand.
The Weta Group had worked on a broad range of projects around the world, as well as locally on films such as Pork Pie and Taika Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Stone Street Studios, Park Road Post Production and Weta Digital worked extensively on Pete's Dragon, while Stone Street, Park Road and Weta Workshop were intimately involved in the production of Ghost in the Shell.
Weta Digital's 1500 crew delivering shots for 2016 releases including Independence Day: Resurgence, The BFG, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Deadpool as well as contributing on the Academy award-winning The Jungle Book, he said.
"The results underscore a good period for the New Zealand screen industry in what is a highly-competitive global market," Harland said.
Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (Wreda) chief executive Chris Whelan said the latest figures indicated the screen sector remained a valuable contributor to the capital.
"Screen production means well-paid, highly-skilled employment in the region, as well as creating a 'halo effect' among a wide range of specialist suppliers.
Total expenditure on screen productions remained stable, at $767m, down 1 per cent from $771m in 2015. Almost 90 per cent of it was in Auckland or Wellington ($681m).
For location-based production, crew costs are allocated to the region the crew usually lives in.
Businesses spent $25m in Canterbury and the West Coast, the third-largest region for expenditure, while $20m was spent on production activity by New Zealand businesses in overseas locations.
Whelan said a 32 per cent increase in international revenue across New Zealand was also good news for Wellington.
"Screen creativity is one of Wellington's signature industries, contributing hugely to the region's global profile. Attracting high-profile international projects not only creates new export revenue, it attracts visitors and talent."
While the film production industry in New Zealand was cyclical, the outlook for Wellington's screen sector was positive, Whelan said.
"Both domestic and international film production is healthy, and we're seeing more and more diversity in the projects Wellington business are securing.
As technology looked set to revolutionise screen entertainment in the near future, Whelan said Wellington was well-positioned to thrive.
"With the virtual, augmented and mixed-reality industries on the cusp of exponential growth, Wellington is once again home to people and businesses who will lead the way."
Total government funding received by screen industry businesses was $190m in 2016, up 15 per cent from 2015.
Funding and financing from the private sector and broadcasters decreased 6 per cent and 31 per cent respectively, leading to an overall decrease of 2 per cent in total domestic funding and financing received for producing.
In 2015, the screen industry employed 14,000 people, who cumulatively worked in 24,700 jobs, or contracts.
These jobs or contracts can last from one to 365 days, and be full-time, part-time, or fixed-term.
Total earnings from these jobs increased 6 percent from 2014, to $751m in 2015.