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Ghost in the Shell films in New Zealand

A live-action version of the Japanese manga series Ghost in the Shell has started filming in the New Zealand capital Wellington, with lead Scarlett Johansson.    

The story follows a human-cyborg hybrid known as the Major as she leads an elite special ops task force to prevent criminals from destroying advancements in cyber technology.

“We are so pleased to be in Wellington to shoot Ghost in the Shell,” said producers Avi Arad, Ari Arad, Michael Costigan and Jeffrey Silver. “The city boasts state-of-the-art production facilities and a rich urban landscape that make it an ideal setting for a sci-fi action film. 

“The crew base in New Zealand working on the film is first-class, and working with Sir Richard Taylor and the team at Weta Workshop is inspirational on every level.”

Wellington offers Stone Street Studios where Peter Jackson filmed The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, as well as his remake of King Kong.

Stone Street is also set to host James Cameron’s Avatar sequels. The filmmaker announced this week that there will in fact be four new movies in his record-breaking sci-fi franchise, rather than the previously-announced trilogy. 

Both the Ghost in the Shell and Avatar announcements have arrived days after a report revealed that film production revenue in Wellington fell by a sharp 55% in 2015. The country had greater success with TV production in the northern hub of Auckland.

For more on filming in New Zealand see our production guide.