Being selected as the main production base for Amazon Studios’ television project based on The Lord of the Rings – announced by Amazon Studios – will deliver a massive boost for Auckland’s economy, and unprecedented opportunities to grow jobs and careers in the region.
A team of screen attraction and investment specialists at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development played a lead role, alongside the New Zealand Film Commission and regional film offices, in bringing the series to Auckland and New Zealand.
ATEED was involved in months of discussions with Amazon Studios about its extensive production requirements.
"This is a really exciting opportunity for Auckland," says Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.
"This is a great place to make films and TV, and Amazon’s new series is another chance to demonstrate our skills and capacity to the industry worldwide.
"This production will support Auckland’s world-class screen businesses to grow, create jobs and provide an immense boost to our regional and national economy. We already have a billion-dollar screen industry and being the main production base for Amazon’s new TV series will take it to a new level.
"I am proud of Auckland Council’s contribution to Auckland and New Zealand landing this huge production, in collaboration with the New Zealand Film Commission."
The Amazon Studios series’ name, budget details, crew size, and production plans are still in development, but the production’s likely scale is unprecedented for New Zealand.
Auckland’s screen and creative sector has grown at an average of 6.2 per cent per annum in the past five years – a growth rate only outpaced by construction, tourism and retail.
Mayor Goff says Amazon Studios’ series will clearly further accelerate that growth: "But the value goes much deeper than the dollars which will be spent here.
"While ATEED’s first requirement was to ensure Auckland met Amazon’s infrastructure needs, it is also identifying ways the production can help inspire our next generation of creative talent into exciting jobs, and the industry can be supported to collaborate to grow."
Production for the Lord of the Rings-based series is expected to take place at a range of sites around the Auckland region. The exact sites are still in development.
In addition to the direct spend, the series is expected to have a large cast and crew, with significant opportunities for New Zealanders. A production across the expected multiple seasons will provide job security and career growth for Auckland-based crew.
There will be significant flow-on to the construction, materials supply, and contracting industries from the physical set construction required, says Mayor Goff.
"And the ‘halo’ effect on businesses around the region such as corporate catering, security providers, cafes near studios, and equipment rentals will also be substantial," he says.
Given the The Lord of the Rings’ huge global fan base, ATEED will investigate long-term tourism opportunities for the region from being the main production base for the Amazon Studios series.