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New Zealand gets new film studio

MegKumeu Film Studios has opened as a new production facility in Auckland, New Zealand.

The site was developed 15 miles outside Auckland’s city centre for the recent filming of Jon Turteltaub’s shark thriller Meg.

Jason Statham and Chinese actress Li Bingbing (pictured) star in the US-China co-production about the hunt for a prehistoric shark.

Water tanks were needed for Meg and so a 1.3 million litre heated indoor tank and a 2.5 million litre outdoor tank backed by a giant green screen were built for the shoot. 

The facility has now been named Kumeu Film Studios and is being made permanent through a partnership between New Zealand Film Commission, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Warner Bros. Pictures and Gravity Pictures. 

Kumeu also offers a sound stage spanning more than 43,000 sq ft and another is scheduled to open next year.

“It is great to have an additional facility in New Zealand – a place I know well,” said Barrie Osborne, an executive producer on Meg, who also worked in New Zealand on the Lord of the Rings movies, and more recently on Disney’s remake of Pete’s Dragon.   

“I love to produce films there. The crews are innovative, enthusiastic – a collaborative group of technicians.”

Feature production in New Zealand is normally based in Wellington in the South Island where Stone Street Studios is based, with Auckland better known for television.

Auckland Film Studios offers nearly 40,000 sq ft of stage space and became famous in the 1990s for hosting hit fantasy shows Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. In the last year the facility has hosted US TV fantasy drama The Shannara Chronicles.

Image: Warner Bros.