Epic Apple TV+ and Universal Studio TV series Metropolis, based on Fritz Lang’s classic film, is set to shoot in Australia and receive more than A$90m of local funding.
The Morrison Government is providing A$83.8m in Location Incentive funding for a pipeline of projects, including Metropolis, with the Victorian Screen Incentive further contributing A$41.6m to the project.
Produced by UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group and Esmail Corp., Metropolis will be written and directed by Sam Esmail, who also serves as showrunner on the series, and will film in Victoria, including at a new ‘virtual production’ structure at Docklands Studios Melbourne that is among the largest in the world.
The Victorian government is providing $12.5m to deliver the infrastructure, which will include one of the largest permanent ‘LED volumes’ – high-tech digital screens that can display realistic background environments and visual effects – allowing imagined and real destinations to be filmed on stage.
Following use by Metropolis, the Victoria LED space will remain in place for use by other international productions and for local films and series.
Metropolis takes place in a futuristic city where the wealthy elite enjoy a lavish life of comfort and ease in penthouses and pleasure gardens, scores of workers labour at dangerous machinery in the bowels of the city to keep everything running.
It is estimated that the pipeline of projects supported by the Location Incentive and the Victorian Screen Incentive could contribute up to A$621m in direct spend across a five-year production period to 2027. Over 700 cast and crew and 2,500 employees will be employed to work on Metropolis, with an estimated 700 local businesses and service providers benefiting from the local production. Overall, the project is expected to contribute A$188m to the Australian economy alone.
Victorian Minister for Creative Industries, the Hon Danny Pearson MP said: “Metropolis will be among the largest productions to ever film in Victoria, providing thousands of secure local jobs and delivering a massive skills boost.” “Victoria is already home to some of the best staff, talent and production facilities in the world – new virtual production infrastructure will cement the state’s reputation as a global screen destination.”
Matt Vitins, Chief Operating Officer of Matchbox Pictures, who will be managing production services on the project, said: “Metropolis comes in the context of a pipeline of premium television drama series from across Universal Studio Group attracted to Australia by the Location Incentive including Clickbait, Young Rock, La Brea, Irreverent and Joe vs Carole.”
The virtual production workforce training program on Metropolis will place a number of paid trainees with visual effects houses, games developers and other companies engaged in virtual production workflow. Universal Studio Group and Matchbox Pictures will also establish a
partnership with the Victorian College of the Arts that will enable students to develop technical skills in virtual production.