Disney is eyeing a 2015 production start date for their adaptation 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo. The remake is gearing up to start shooting in Australia sometime next year, with the studio asking for a greater increase in tax incentives from the Australian government.
Back in April 2013, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that the studio will receive a $21.6 million tax incentive to shoot the Jules Verne adaptation in Australia, but that was the last we heard about the project until now. A change in the country's government now casts doubt on whether or not they will still commit to the tax credit. Disney is asking for an increased tax credit for 30% of the film's budget, which has been backed by the labor union Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). The MEAA is currently negotiating labor wages for crew members so production can begin in 2015.
Here's what an MEAA spokesperson had to say in a statement.
"(The MEAA) understands the Federal Government has agreed to allow the additional funding incentive originally reserved for 20,000 Leagues to be reallocated to this new production, however the studio has asked for a funding top-up to 30% of the budget."
The government's standard credit is 16.5%, but they do allow for higher credits on a case-by-case basis, such as last year's The Wolverine, which was awarded a $25 million credit in 2012. The film created over 1,750 jobs, using more than 1,000 local companies, while generating approximately $80 million in revenue throughout the country.
MEAA director Malcom Tulloch also wrote an open letter to federal arts minister George Brandis, where he outlined his request for an increased production offset.
"As you would be aware the Location Offset plays an integral part in securing international feature films in a very competitive global market .... However the strong Australian dollar and increased competition between international jurisdictions has led to some of the lowest of offshore production on record. This is of serious concern.
MEAA is aware that there have been a significant number of productions that have applied for a one off increase to the Location Offset to make productions viable. None of these productions have however come to fruition. As a result of uncertainty in this area Australia is now being overlooked by international feature film producers," the letter continues.
We would encourage the Federal Government and your department to work constructively with the film's producers to ensure that this production is filmed in Australia. We would also encourage the Federal Government to consider increasing the Location Offset to 30% permanently and thus support in the long term the feature film Industry in this country."
David Fincher had previously been attached to direct 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo, but he ended up parting ways with the project to direct Gone Girl, which hits theaters this October. While it's possible that he could re-join 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo, with production scheduled to start next year, it hasn't been confirmed that he will come back to the helm.