By Rod McGuirk
The Associated Press
CANBERRA, Australia — The latest movies in the “Thor” and “Alien” franchises will begin filming in Australia next year, the government said Thursday.
The government gave Twentieth Century Fox as well as Walt Disney Pictures and Marvel Studios a total of $34 million to woo them to Australia to make the feature films, Arts Minister Mitch Fifield said.
Ridley Scott will direct the unnamed Alien movie for Fox and Australian actor Chris Hemsworth will reprise his starring role as the superhero in the third instalment of the “Thor” series for Disney and Marvel, “Thor: Ragnarok.”
While locations have not been announced, Disney recently finished shooting “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” at Gold Coast studios in Queensland state and Fox has studios in Sydney.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop defended the government spending to secure the movies, saying Australia was competing against other countries to attract movie makers.
She said her government had wanted the Scott-directed Fox hit film “The Martian” shot in Australia instead of Hungary.
Mary Ann Hughes, Disney Vice President of Film and Television, described shooting of the fifth instalment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise as a “wonderful experience.”
Shooting had several setbacks and controversies. Star Johnny Depp’s wife, Amber Heard, was charged with illegally bringing the couple’s dogs into Australia against quarantine regulations. She could face up to 10 years in prison and heavy fines if convicted.
Hughes joked at a press conference on Thursday that: “Since our lovely Chris Hemsworth lives in Australia, I suspect we won’t have any issues with pets.”
Hemsworth told the press conference in a video from Los Angeles that he was looking forward to working again in his home country.
“I look forward to introducing my Marvel friends to this beautiful country of ours,” he said.