Partner up with Australia:

Warner Bros.

We have a relationship with the Australian film industry going back to 1997 with The Matrix, which was the first major feature Warner Bros. made in Australia. Since then we have made between 15 and 20 movies Down Under of all sizes, scales, scope and genres.


The first Matrix film with its subject and VFX, was groundbreaking for the industry as a whole and proved that Australian talent and crews could meet the challenge of a demanding film of scale and technology.

It was the first film I worked on in Australia too and I still feel as though I have family there as I am great mates with some of the crew. And, I’ve taken Australian crews all over the world for shoots. I’ve always loved their ‘can-do’ attitude and the way they step up to a challenge and solve problems. It’s enabled us to make a lot of big, ambitious films there from The Matrix trilogy to Superman Returns, The Great Gatsby and now Aquaman.

Australia has great talent on the creative side too, with writers, actors and directors. You have the infrastructure and the experienced post-production, VFX and technology institutions to make great movies.

The relationships with government, too, are vital. The Australian Government has recognised the importance of its uplift and incentives and with the new AUD$140 million Location Incentive, we see that they get it. Ultimately, the economics of making films has to work for us. A lot of territories offer incentives but no crew base.

But, it’s Australians’ ‘can-do’ attitude that’s hard to put a price on. We have just finished Aquaman, the big, epic DC movie which challenged us technically beyond belief. It’s in the same category as The Matrix films – very complicated and very technical. The vast majority of the film takes place underwater and shooting at the Village Roadshow Studios water tank and on Queensland beaches, we’ve ended up with a film that’s absolutely beautiful to look at.

A lot of hard work and innovation came from everyone that worked on the film, from Director James Wan onwards. The crews all pitched in to find ways to make the complicated elements all work.

Aquaman ©Warner Bros. Pictures

Australia’s state screen agencies work well with what the federal government provides. When we made Fool’s Gold in Queensland (in 2006) we needed to build a water tank and the state government became instrumental in making that happen. And in NSW, the facilities at Fox Studios are without peer. The stage space and additional facilities housed there helped make The Great Gatsby visually the most beautiful film I’ve ever worked on.

Australia provides great value and it’s more than just about bodies and numbers.

The partnerships we have in Australia are all based on trust, honesty and respect. You have to live up to your word, agree upfront about what you want and what you are doing, and that has been our experience with Australian companies, agencies and talent. There’s an honesty about what you can do and about trying to help make things work.

On the flip side, if I say we are going to come we will come and we will do everything to make it happen.

Ausfilm does a great job of promoting Australia, as do your vendors. Everyone is always reaching out and that two-way conversation is very important. I know I can pick up the phone any time to find out what the landscape looks like there.

That communication comes with experience and the fact that we’ve made great friends there. The main challenge in the film business is that there are more people now trying to develop more content. As producers, we’re competing like never before for resources – the physical resources like stages, locations and crew – and on price.

People are competing globally so the biggest challenge is being, and trying to remain, competitive when the landscape is changing every day.

It’s a huge step forward for Australia to have the new Location Incentive AUD$140 million fund. I applaud it.

We are now back looking at Australia for our bigger films. For the tentpoles like Aquaman you have the stages, the crews and the infrastructure so the new Location Inventive makes it easier to look at. It gives us the opportunity to look at making more of both bigger budget and the more moderate sized films.

Ultimately, that’s what we all want to do.