For a long time it’s been on his to-do list, but because of the big money involved, David Fincher just hasn’t been able to get his update of Jules Verne‘s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea off the ocean floor and out of dry dock. He even had Brad Pitt attached to star for crying out loud, but even hooking one of the biggest fish in the Hollywood sea isn’t always enough to get you a green light these days.
But maybe Fincher’s now got something better – tax incentives.
The Age is reporting that Australia’s Federal Arts Minister Simon Crean is extending a sweet tax incentive deal to the Disney production if they should happen to choose to film in Australia: 30 per cent. Translated back into dollars that’s $20 million to the studio if they lens Down Under, which is no small potatoes when we’re talking about a budget of around $200 million total for Leagues.
Typically, foreign productions make a return of 16.5 per cent when shooting in Australia, but the Aussies negotiated the unprecedented 30 per cent with Fox in order to attract the recently wrapped The Wolverine production last year. According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Wolverine employed some 2,000 locals and generated $80 million in local investment, and according to Crean, a mega-production like 20,000 Leagues, would be an even bigger boom to the local economy.
”If it comes off [20,000 Leagues] will be a bigger production than Wolverine,” he said. “In fact, it will be the biggest production ever filmed in Australia.”
The original 1954 film starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas and Peter Lorre is considered a Disney classic. And although there’s been several different re-tellings of the story in the last 60 years, including two made-for-TV efforts starring Michael Caine and Ben Cross respectively in 1997, the last time Captain Nemo and crew were seen on the big screen was 2003’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and I’m sure that’s another outrage that Nemo himself would seek revenge for in order to resolve.
So will Disney take the deal? Time will tell, and we’ll keep you posted.