In the coming months five more foreign television and film productions will be allowed into New Zealand to film, as they have been officially granted border exemptions.
James Cameron’s “Avatar” sequels and Jane Campion’s Netflix film “The Power of the Dog” have already been allowed into the country to film due to these exemptions. Joining them will be Amazon’s “Lord of the Rings” prequel series, Netflix’s live-action “Cowboy Bebop” adaptation, Peter Farrelly’s film “Greatest Beer Run Ever” (starring Viggo Mortensen), Netflix’s live-action adaptation of DC Comics’ “Sweet Tooth,” and “Power Rangers Beast Morphers.”
According to the New Zealand news site Stuff, these media entities are predicted by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) to bring 3,000 jobs and around $400 million into New Zealand’s economy. Additionally with these productions, 206 foreign-based cast and crew members are set to enter the country, along with 35 family members, in the next six months. They will be subject to self-quarantine upon entry.
As Deadline also notes, Amazon’s “Lord of the Rings” series was already in the process of wrapping its first two episodes in the country when production shut down in the middle of March due to the pandemic. As the plan was for the series to take a hiatus after the second episode and resume filming in September, the border exemption allows for the series’ to remain on track.
Netflix’s “Cowboy Bebop” had also begun filming in New Zealand prior to the pandemic, though it took a seven-to-nine-months-long hiatus after series lead John Cho suffered an injury.
“Our success at managing COVID-19 gives our country an opportunity to become one of the few countries still able to safely produce screen content,” said New Zealand Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford on Wednesday. Twyford signed off on these exemptions for all seven of the projects, citing that, “ the inquiries and interest we are getting from international production houses tells me that the international film community sees New Zealand as something of a global safe haven.”
Twyford added, “This is an opportunity, friends, that we must grab. Despite the turmoil the world is facing, this is an exciting time for New Zealand’s screen sector.