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Next update December 2022

The average number of films produced in Australia has almost doubled since the nineties.

In the 1990s, an average of 30 Australian and foreign films either shot or undertook PDV-only work in Australia. By the end of the 2000s, that had increased to 41 films. The 2010s experienced significant growth in the number of features undertaking work in Australia, peaking in 2016/17 with 78 films. While the decade closed with a nine-year low of 47 titles in 2019/20, largely due to the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the decade average was 59 feature films.

Over the last three decades, the average number of Australian-produced films has increased by 38 per cent, with average budgets nearly three times higher in the 2010s than the 1990s. Spend, reported since 1994/95, has increased by 40 per cent since the 2000s.

In 2006/07, there was a significant increase in the number of foreign features undertaking work in Australia, marking the beginning of PDV-only reporting. Between 1990/91 and 2005/06, the average number of foreign films produced was four. From 2006/07, that average increased to 20 titles each year. While the trend for both budgets and spend has been upwards, foreign activity fluctuates according to the value of the Australian dollar as well as location incentives offered by the Australian Government. Throughout 2007, for example, the value of the Australian dollar increased, peaking in July 2008. In the year that followed, foreign production dropped significantly, with no US features shooting in Australia in 2008/09.

During the 1990s, 27 foreign features were shot in Australia made with total budgets of $982 million. This rose to 61 in the first decade of the 2000s, with total budgets around $2.5 billion and spending more than $1.4 billion in Australia. In the decade 2000/01 to 2009/10, numerous high-budget titles, mostly from the US, were shot in Australia, including the Matrix films, Peter PanStar Wars (episodes II and III), Superman Returns and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Foreign feature production dropped significantly in 2008/09, with no US production taking place that year.

PDV-only work has also contributed significantly to spend by foreign productions in Australia. In the four years to 2009/10, spend by foreign PDV-only projects averaged $12.8 million.

There were 42 Australian features produced in 2020/21, right on the five-year average. Three foreign features started shooting and another 19 foreign features commenced PDV-only work in Australia during the 2020/21 period.

In total, the 22 foreign features allocated around $510 million to expenditure in Australia, more than double last year. Titles shot in Australia - all from the US - included BlacklightThor: Love and Thunder and Thirteen Lives.

Foreign titles undertaking only PDV work in Australia originated mostly from the US, such as The Shrinking of Treehorn, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Batman.

For more details see Spending in Australia, Australian feature films, and Focus: Foreign drama production in Australia.