New Zealand features in two Hollywood blockbusters next month, but don’t expect any of the international stars to return to our shores to promote them.
Distributors for both Mission: Impossible – Fallout and The Meg have confirmed any premieres here will be low-key Tom Cruise and Jason Statham-free affairs, although plans for the Kiwi debut of the latter, more than 90 per cent of which was shot here, are still being negotiated.
Fallout had its world premiere in Paris on Friday morning New Zealand time, while The Meg is likely to either make its bow in China (whose China Media Capital-owned Gravity Pictures co-financed the film) or Hollywood.
And, unlike most big-budget movies, Kiwi cinemagoers won’t even get to see them at the same time as the rest of the world – Fallout is scheduled to open here on August 2 (after debuting in the US and other territories a week earlier), while The Meg’s August 16 New Zealand opening date is also around seven days later than other markets.
* Behind the scenes of Tom Cruise’s NZ Mission Impossible Fallout stunt
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* Mission: Impossible – Fallout: Tom Cruise reveals details of the Kiwi-shot movie
* The Meg: Chinese actress Li BingBing thought she was going to die on NZ set of shark movie
* Stars Ruby Rose and Jason Statham film the Meg movie outside our window
* Kiwi actor Cliff Curtis to join Jason Statham on cast of giant shark movie Meg
The lack of a international star-studded premiere seems to have become commonplace in recent years, with partly or wholly New Zealand-shot movies like A Wrinkle in Time, Pete’s Dragon and Ghost in the Shell debuting here without much local fanfare. It’s a far cry from earlier this century when Wellington rolled out the red carpet for both The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. A red carpet premiere for Tom Cruise’s last film here – The Last Samurai – took place in New Plymouth without him in January 2004.
It is still to early to tell whether the Sir Peter Jackson-produced Mortal Engines will be launched in glitzy fashion in the Capital, with only a London premiere confirmed in May for December 11, a few days before its worldwide release.
New Zealand Film Commission chief executive Annabelle Sheehan says premieres are discussed with studios on a case-by-case basIs.
“Each partnership is negotiated to get the strongest economic benefit for New Zealand, while balancing the requirements of the production. Some partnerships have included a New Zealand premiere, for example The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey had its worldwide premiere in New Zealand, which created unprecedented media coverage for New Zealand and the Avatar MOU [Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the National Government in December 2013] includes a provision for one of the films to have its worldwide premiere in New Zealand.”
That Avatar memorandum was signed when there were three films planned. Director James Cameron is currently shooting two sequels (with the New Zealand part of the production expected to ramp up by the end of the year), with two more proposed after that.
Avatar 2 is currently scheduled to be released in December, 2020, with Avatar 3 debuting 12 months later.