August 27, 1990

Article at Reuters

Look out Hollywood, here comes Australia’s Cade County

Reuters | 27 August 1990 

A scene from the Wim Wenders big budget film "Until The End Of The World" starring William Hurt and Sam Neill

By Wilson da Silva

CADE COUNTY, Australia – When big-time international directors plan their next film, Greg Coote wants them to think of Australia’s Cade County studios.

Wim Wenders did. The German director of the cult classic “Paris, Texas” began shooting his big budget film “Until The End Of The World” here in July. It stars William Hurt and Sam Neill.

Situated in Cade County, Queensland, the studios are a A$125 million (US$99 million) attempt to cut into the market for major feature films, long dominated by studios in Los Angeles and London.

Located 20 km (12 miles) from the sub-tropical coastal resort city of Gold Coast, the studio will offer facilities to match the world’s major film centres, said Coote, president of Warner-Roadshow Studios.

“Once you’re on the sound stage you could be in any of the major studios of the world,” he told Reuters. “We’ve got wonderful weather, a resort nearby and we’re 30 to 50 per cent cheaper than studios in the United States.”

Partners in the studio are Time Warner Inc of the United States, Village Roadshow Ltd and Pivot Group Ltd of Australia, which each own a third of the venture.

Stage Five of the complex, to be completed in September, will offer 2,072 square metres (22,300 square feet) of floorspace, which studio manager Michael Lake says matches London’s Pinewood Studios. Films shot at Pinewood include many of the James Bond epics and George Lucas’ “Star Wars”.

It will be the last and largest of the five stages at the complex.

Lake said the recent increase in productions at the Australian studio reminds him of the early years of this century when film companies left studios in New York for the sunshine of Los Angeles.

“The partners are very confident of attracting productions to Australia,” he said. “I believe this area will become one of the production centres of the world.

“You can build the biggest of sets in these stages, facilities nearby are very good and there’s a tremendous range of locations. It’s just a very pleasant place to make pictures in.”

Shot here for the U.S. ABC television network was “Dolphin Cove” and the modern version of the popular 1960s series “Mission Impossible”, both shown widely in North America.

Last year the major Australian feature “Blood Oath”, soon to be released internationally, was filmed here. An American science fiction series for the U.S. CBS network, “E.A.R.T.H. Force”, began production in August, starring Gil Gerrard of “Buck Rogers” fame.

Also, under construction on the 162-hectare (400-acre) site is a theme park modelled on the successful Universal Studios complex in the United States. It will be run by Pivot, which operates the nearby Seaworld park and will offer some facilities as sets.

Coote is based in Hollywood, where the studio will begin a major push later this year to attract big- budget feature films. He said the Gold Coast, with its beachside high-rises and opulent lifestyle, could quickly rival California’s Beverly Hills.

“If all of the projects we’re discussing come off, we won’t be able to handle it,” Coote said.