Marvel is bringing the thunder down under. With Thor: Ragnarok set to begin shooting next year – with a certain hulking rage monster in tow – the studio has confirmed plans to set up production in Australia, bringing lead star Chris Hemsworth back to his native home. It’ll be rubbing shoulders with Ridley Scott’s sequel, Alien: Paradise Lost.
Part and parcel of the decision to set up shop in the land down under comes down to the fact that Australian dollar has dropped more than 30% against the U.S. currency in as many months. For studios of Marvel and 20th Century Fox’s stature, reining in the budget of a blockbuster release – which can so often balloon past early estimations – has become paramount.
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Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop announced the coup, welcoming the pair of tentpoles with open arms. In a statement made in Canberra, the country’s capital, Bishop confirmed that “attracting major films made here will be a significant boost for our economy, for our industrial base, and for linking Australia in innumerable ways to our ever-globalizing world.”
While Scott’s Alien: Paradise Lost is edging closer to closer to a production start, Thor: Ragnarok is still without a director. Last we reported, Taika Waititi had been in contention to helm the threequel, though any word of the New Zealander landing the gig has quietly fallen off the radar. And though news of both projects filming sequences in Australia doesn’t reveal much in terms of plot, it’s part of a growing trend in Hollywood – one that stretches back as far as the original Pirates of the Caribbean.
Adding to Bishop’s comments, Australian Minister for the Arts Senator Mitch Fifield gushed about attracting major Hollywood releases to their shores.
“Attracting these two blockbuster films cements Australia’s place as one of the world’s best filming locations. Australian crews and actors will also gain the skills and experience to further strengthen our capacity to produce high-quality films for Australian and international audiences.”
Thor: Ragnarok will slot into Marvel’s all-important Phase Three on July 28, 2017, while Ridley Scott’s Alien: Paradise Lost is yet to nail down an official release date, though it’s expected to lumber in front of the cameras in February next year.