Pacific Rim Uprising films in Australia and China

Fantasy action sequel Pacific Rim Uprising filmed on stages in Queensland and China to tell a new story of humans using giant robots to fight immense alien attackers.

Fantasy action sequel Pacific Rim Uprising filmed on stages in Queensland, Australia, and China to tell a new story of humans using giant robots to fight immense alien attackers.

Like Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 movie Pacific Rim – that used Toronto as a production base – the follow-up features humans piloting giant robots called jaegers to take on the alien threat.

Pacific Rim Uprising films in Australia and China
Pacific Rim Uprising

Pacific Rim’s production company Legendary had previously filmed monster movie Kong: Skull Island from a Queensland base so Australia was the preferred choice for their new venture.

“Queensland was the strongest initial contender for its very competitive film incentives, great stages and a variety of locations that worked for our script,” says Leann Emmert, the film’s supervising location manager, in comments to KFTV.

“We needed to match Santa Monica, California and a ‘futuristic city’. Brisbane and Gold Coast worked great for those scenes. Also, Sydney was scripted as the location for the [movie’s] ‘Pan Pacific Defense Corp’ (PPDC) where the first major robot battle occurs, so from the beginning we always spoke of doing some type of filming in Sydney, even if it was a smaller plate unit.

“However, the stages were booked in Queensland so we shifted our focus to Sydney, which had the Fox stages [at Fox Studios Australia]. Between the two Australian states we were able to get some really great locations.”

Most of the movie was shot on stages, but around a third of principal photography took place at iconic Australian landmarks including the Sydney Opera House, and further north in Brisbane.

Smaller teams filmed plate shots in Iceland, Japan and California, but a larger unit visited South Korea.

Pacific Rim Uprising

“The plate unit work we did in South Korea was much more involved,” says Emmert. “We had a big locations team to help close some major streets around Seoul and Busan, achieving 180 shots with drones in eight days.”

The Chinese leg of the shoot was exclusively focussed on stage work at Wanda Studios in Qingdao, a facility that is still being developed with consultation from Pinewood Studios in the UK. Eventually the site will offer 40 stages, including the largest in the world that will span nearly 110,000 sq ft.

Qingdao also offers filming incentives worth up to 40% of local expenditure, with per-production payments capped at the equivalent of around $19m.

Producers and location managers describe the language barrier and cultural differences as being challenges to navigate during Chinese shoots. However, the country offers world-class facilities and local filming can also deliver easier long-term access to the lucrative Chinese distribution market, which remains a persistent international appeal.

See KFTV's production guide for more on filming in Australia.

Images: Legendary Entertainment/Universal Pictures

Pacific Rim Uprising films in Australia and China
Pacific Rim Uprising

Fantasy action sequel Pacific Rim Uprising filmed on stages in Queensland, Australia, and China to tell a new story of humans using giant robots to fight immense alien attackers.

Like Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 movie Pacific Rim – that used Toronto as a production base – the follow-up features humans piloting giant robots called jaegers to take on the alien threat.

Pacific Rim’s production company Legendary had previously filmed monster movie Kong: Skull Island from a Queensland base so Australia was the preferred choice for their new venture.

“Queensland was the strongest initial contender for its very competitive film incentives, great stages and a variety of locations that worked for our script,” says Leann Emmert, the film’s supervising location manager, in comments to KFTV.

“We needed to match Santa Monica, California and a ‘futuristic city’. Brisbane and Gold Coast worked great for those scenes. Also, Sydney was scripted as the location for the [movie’s] ‘Pan Pacific Defense Corp’ (PPDC) where the first major robot battle occurs, so from the beginning we always spoke of doing some type of filming in Sydney, even if it was a smaller plate unit.

“However, the stages were booked in Queensland so we shifted our focus to Sydney, which had the Fox stages [at Fox Studios Australia]. Between the two Australian states we were able to get some really great locations.”

Most of the movie was shot on stages, but around a third of principal photography took place at iconic Australian landmarks including the Sydney Opera House, and further north in Brisbane.

Smaller teams filmed plate shots in Iceland, Japan and California, but a larger unit visited South Korea.

Pacific Rim Uprising

“The plate unit work we did in South Korea was much more involved,” says Emmert. “We had a big locations team to help close some major streets around Seoul and Busan, achieving 180 shots with drones in eight days.”

The Chinese leg of the shoot was exclusively focussed on stage work at Wanda Studios in Qingdao, a facility that is still being developed with consultation from Pinewood Studios in the UK. Eventually the site will offer 40 stages, including the largest in the world that will span nearly 110,000 sq ft.

Qingdao also offers filming incentives worth up to 40% of local expenditure, with per-production payments capped at the equivalent of around $19m.

Producers and location managers describe the language barrier and cultural differences as being challenges to navigate during Chinese shoots. However, the country offers world-class facilities and local filming can also deliver easier long-term access to the lucrative Chinese distribution market, which remains a persistent international appeal.

See KFTV's production guide for more on filming in Australia.

Images: Legendary Entertainment/Universal Pictures

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