Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Warner Bros. Ask for More

What started as a bid for more money and requiring the joining of the union for New Zealand Actors Equity is now potentially ending much the same, only now with a demand of more money from Warner Bros. In an effort to take advantage of New Zealand's movie industry's now suddenly very weakened movie industry and the many offers of tax incentives from the United Kingdom and Ireland, the studio has asked the NZ government to sweeten their own deal before considering leaving The Hobbit production in the country. From NZ Stuff:
After emerging from a two-hour meeting with Warner Brothers executives this evening, Mr Key confirmed industrial relations law changes and bigger financial incentives were the two issues under consideration by the studio as it weighed up whether to shoot the two Hobbit movies here or offshore.

"If we could make the deal sweeter for them that would help; that's something we would consider… but we can't bridge the gap that is potentially on offer from other locations around the world. We're not prepared to do that and… I don't think the New Zealand taxpayer would want us to do that," Mr. Key said.

Asked about the size of the gap between what New Zealand taxpayers were putting up and other governments were offering Mr. Key answered: "It's not in the tens of millions, put it that way. There's a lot of noughts."

"But there is no question the industrial action has caused real concern… and they'll need resolution to some of those issues. It's also fair to say if it wasn't for the industrial action they were good to go."

"They're not coming here just to say no per se. We've definitely got a chance of saving the movies but nor would I say to you it's a done deal on the back of the conversations I've had with them."
In a weird sort of way this is kind of good news. If money was the only concern, then the decision is pretty easy to make for Warner Bros. and no further discussion needed since the prime minister made it clear that New Zealand isn't in a position to match the offers made by other country. In an odd way it sounds like WB intends to stay but figures might as well get their pound of tax cuts since they are now in the superior bargaining position thanks to NZAE. Of course this could also just be leverage to get the other countries to up their offers behind the scenes. I guess we will all know by the end of the week.

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