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All drama production
Focus on foreign

Key data on foreign feature and TV drama production in Australia, 1994/95–2019/20

Next update December 2021

Production activity: Foreign shoot | Foreign features | Foreign TV drama | Foreign PDV-only | Proportions of foreign production spend

Production activity: Foreign shoot

Spending in Australia by foreign drama productions, particularly features, had been growing since the late 1990s, peaking in 2003/04, when $279 million was spent here. A stronger Australian dollar had a significant impact on foreign productions choosing to shoot in Australia, with historically low foreign expenditure in years 2008/09 and 2011/12. As the dollar fell, foreign productions began returning and expenditure, on average, increased from 2012/13, although 2017/18 was similarly affected by a stronger dollar.

In 2008/09, foreign drama spending dropped to its lowest level on record – just $3 million – with foreign feature activity restricted to just six Indian titles. This was the first time on record that no US feature production has taken place here. A new record was set in 2016/17, when foreign shoot expenditure reached $557 million, with three US big-budget features accounting for the majority of spend.

Foreign feature spend was $283 million in 2019/20, down 5 per cent on the previous year..  Projects in that year included high-budget title Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings as well as Children of the Corn and Road to Boston.

For detailed data, see Feature film production and TV drama production.



Since 1990, 146 foreign features have been shot in Australia, with the majority - 51 per cent - originating from North America. Indian features accounted for 25 per cent with the remaining 26 per cent originating from predominantly Asian countries including Japan, China, Nepal, South Korea and Thailand. 

The rolling five-year average increased steadily, from two foreign features in the early nineties to seven in the mid-2000s. Over the last 14 years, the rolling five-year average has fluctuated between four and six. 

There were seven foreign features shot in Australia in the 2019/20.

For detailed data of domestic and foreign features, see Titles produced each year since 1997/98.


TV drama


Of the 68 foreign telemovies shot in Australia since 1990/91, 85 per cent originated from the US (including two with Canada). Four titles were from Germany, three from Japan and one each from the UK, Sri Lanka and South Korea. Production peaked in 2000/01 when 14 foreign telemovies were shot in Australia, all of which were from the US (one with Canada).

No foreign telemovies have commenced production in Australia since 2012/13.


Nineteen foreign mini-series have been shot in Australia since 1995/96, with 14 originating from the US, two from Germany, and one each from Japan, South Korea, Sri Lanka and the UK.

No foreign mini-series were shot in Australia in 2019/20.


The number of foreign series and serials shooting in Australia has, since 1990/91, remained fairly consistent, with an average of two titles commencing production each year. Of the 53 foreign series and serials shot in Australia since 1990/91, 24 were from the US (including one with Canada), eight from the UK, seven from China, two from India, two from Thailand and one each from Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Sri Lanka.

For detailed data of domestic and foreign features, see:


Production activity: Foreign PDV-only

The following information relates to foreign productions where only post, digital and visual effects (PDV) work is carried out in Australia. Since 2006/07, the majority of PDV-only work has come from US productions.


Foreign production as a proportion of total production

Foreign productions had been accounting for an increasing proportion of feature spending in Australia from the late 1990s, reaching a peak of 77 per cent in 2014/15. With no US-feature activity in 2008/09, foreign spending on features dropped to an all-time low of less than one per cent.

Spending in Australia by foreign TV drama productions reached an all-time high of 33 per cent in 2007/08, due largely to the high-budget mini-series The Pacific.

For detailed data, see Feature film production and TV drama production.