Melbourne Central City Studios, better known as Docklands Studios, is the subject of an investigtion by the Sunday Herald Sun today.
It brands the lot a ‘white elephant.’
While it has been home to feature films including Ghost Rider, The Knowing, Charlotte’s Web and Where the Wild Things Are, it’s use of hire is way down amid renewed criticism it is too expensive. With the high Aussie dollar, it becomes even less attractive to overseas productions.
Yet many local productions believe its hire fee is not competitive. Frankly, the same claims were levelled at the studios when they opened in 2004.
The Victorian State Government had high hopes for the state of the art facilities, with dreams of nine international and 17 local productions shot there in the first year. But after six years, only 22 productions have been filmed at the studios.
The newspaper found international productions have only been shot 42% of the time, domestic films have been shot 8.7% of the time, presumably leaving the other 49.3% to be domestic television and downtime. It says there have only been 5 periods when all 5 studios have been full.
Television productions have included The Pacific, Nightmares and Dreamscapes and two seasons of Satisfaction. Nine’s huge set for 1 vs 100 was also housed there.
The Victorian Government has just reased a $178 million five-year strategy for the states’s screen industry, in film, television and digital media. It indicates the productions at MCCS have contributed $470m to the Victorian economy.
It will also invest $770,000 for an analysis in relation to local film and television studio facilities, including the viability of building new sound stages and/or production offices at Melbourne Central City Studios (MCCS). It is also investigating a new Horizon Tank facility near Melbourne to attract productions needing a water backdrop.