Russell Crowe launches $400m studio in New South Wales

The complex will have four sound stages, a water tank and post-production facilities

By Chris Evans 17 Jun 2021

Russell Crowe launches $400m studio in New South Wales
Russell Crowe. Credit: AAP

Hollywood actor Russell Crowe is set to establish a film studio in northern New South Wales, which has been booming with productions recently.

The development is a partnership between Crowe, as the major investor, and Peter Montgomery, owner-operator of the 100-acre Pacific Bay Resort, a former banana plantation that is now a hotel and leisure complex.

With an estimated value of $438m, the studio complex will include four sound stages, a water tank, and post-production facilities, as well as accommodation and amenities, taking over the 40-hectare (100-acre) Pacific Bay luxury resort: an eight-minute drive from the local airport, and four minutes from Coffs Harbour’s other major destination, the Big Banana.

“The opportunity to build a facility like this spreads opportunity through the community by creating jobs, but not just jobs: actual professions and careers,” the film star said on Wednesday. “For a number of years I’ve been thinking how I might be able to combine where I live and my work.”

The region, which includes picturesque Byron Bay, has been getting a lot of Hollywood attention lately as Australia continues to be a COVID-safe production magnet. It has recently hosted the Amazon Prime and Hulu drama series Nine Perfect Strangers, starring Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy, and the Netflix comedy Gods Favorite Idiot.

This latest development joins a boom in studio construction in Australia, including the Screen Queensland Studios in the Brisbane suburb of Hemmant; the Byron Studios in Northern Rivers (where the Nicole Kidman Netflix series Nine Perfect Strangers was filmed); and the proposed $100m WA government-backed film hub on Fremantle’s Victoria Quay.

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