Docklands Studios Melbourne
|Docklands Studios Melbourne|
|Type||Film and television studios complex|
|Location||Docklands, Victoria, Australia|
Docklands Studios Melbourne is a major film and television production complex located in Melbourne’s redeveloped Docklands precinct. The site is located approximately 2 kilometres from Melbourne’s Central Business District. The complex opened in 2004 and its primary function is to support Victoria's film and television industry and attract international and Australian productions to Melbourne. It is one of three major studios in Australia, the others being Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast and Fox Studios Australia in Sydney.
The studio complex consists of five sound stages with a total area of 6,318 m² (68,000 square feet), various production offices, a workshop divided into bays of different sizes and parking for 800 vehicles. The sound stages vary in size from 2,323 m² (25,000 square feet) to 743 m² (8,000 square feet). They are hired for production of feature films, drama series and audience based television programs as well as television commercials, music videos and corporate events.
The push for Melbourne to build a major studio complex arose in the late 1990s amid concern that it was "losing some of its media city position to arch rival Sydney and to the Gold Coast". The strategic objectives were that construction of a major studio complex would represent Melbourne's maturity and global ambitions, develop production capacity to its next stage, and service the needs of the local film and television industry. At the time, Melbourne had a number of smaller facilities with sound stages, but did not have a large state-of-the-art complex.
Construction began in 2003 on a parcel of land provided by the Victorian government in the Docklands precinct. The studios were a partnership between the Victorian government and a private consortium, Central City Studio Holdings. The complex opened in April 2004 under the name Melbourne Central City Studios and that year hosted the Australian feature film production, Hating Alison Ashley. In 2005, the American-backed Ghost Rider became the first international production at the studios and, with a budget of around $120 million, was the biggest feature film ever to be made in Victoria. However, the number of international productions in the first few years of operation did not live up to expectations, partly because of the fluctuating Australian dollar. In 2008 the private consortium withdrew and the Victorian government took control of the facility. In 2009 the Victorian government and the studios commissioned the 'Future Directions' study, which reaffirmed the government's commitment to retaining ownership of the facility and led to a $10 million infrastructure upgrade. In October 2010 the complex changed its name to Docklands Studios Melbourne, formally adopting the name by which the studios were commonly known. In the same year, the Nine Network announced plans to relocate its television production to Docklands Studios, following the closure of its outmoded facility in Bendigo Street, Richmond.
Docklands Studios Melbourne is widely used by domestic and international productions. In 2015 the Nine Network renewed its five-year agreement to produce programs at the studios, including The Footy Show and Millionaire Hot Seat. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Seven Network also use the sound stages, while many Australian films, including The Dressmaker, Oddball and The Legend of Ben Hall have shot scenes at the complex. The lower Australian dollar has helped attract international productions such as HBO's The Leftovers. The complex continues to build its reputation as a supporter of indie films, housing three small budget productions in 2017 - The Wheel, Choir Girl, and Guilty - alongside two mainstream feature films Upgrade and Winchester. In 2018 the complex again attracted productions of varying size, including the Australian-Chinese co-production The Whistleblower which spent an estimated $40 million in the state's economy.  In 2019 the complex will house US Television franchise Preacher for its fourth series, in a deal worth $50 million to Victoria, making its the biggest budget TV production to come to the state since The Pacific was filmed in 2007.  It has been estimated that since opening in 2004, Docklands Studios Melbourne has brought more than $800 million into the Victorian economy. There are long-term expansion plans for the studios, including construction of a sixth sound stage and new workshops. Since 2009 the CEO of the complex has been former film producer and former Fox Studios Australia Director of Operations, Rod Allan.
Productions at Docklands Studios Melbourne
Feature films and TV dramas, by year of release
- Hating Alison Ashley (2005)
- The Extra (2005)
- Charlotte's Web (2006)
- Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King (2006)
- Ghost Rider (2007)
- Storm Warning (2007)
- Satisfaction (2007–09)
- As the Bell Rings (Disney, 2009–11)
- Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
- Knowing (2009)
- The Pacific (miniseries) (2010)
- Tomorrow, When the War Began (2010)
- Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)
- The Eye of the Storm (2011 - production base only)
- Winners and Losers (2011–16)
- Killer Elite (2011)
- Jack Irish (2012-16)
- Crawlspace (2012)
- Patrick (2013)
- INXS: Never Tear Us Apart (2014)
- I, Frankenstein (2014)
- Predestination (2014)
- The Dressmaker (2015)
- Oddball (2015)
- Childhood's End (2015)
- Restoration (2016)
- Lion (2016 - production base only)
- The Legend of Ben Hall (2016)
- The Leftovers (2017)
- The King's Daughter
- Berlin Syndrome (2017)
- Guilty (2017)
- The Wheel (2018)
- Choir Girl (2018)
- Winchester (2018)
- Upgrade (2018)
- The Whistleblower (2019)
Audience based TV productions, by year of first broadcast
- Last Man Standing (Seven Network, 2005)
- The Rich List (Seven Network, 2007)
- 1 vs. 100 (Nine Network, 2007–08)
- Hole in the Wall (Nine Network, 2008)
- Project Runway Australia (Foxtel, 2008)
- Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (Network Ten, 2008–09)
- Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation (Network Ten, 2009–12, 2018)
- Beat the Star (Seven Network, 2010)
- Iron Chef Australia (Seven Network, 2010)
- Australia's Got Talent (Seven Network, 2010–12)
- Ben Elton Live from Planet Earth (Nine Network, 2011)
- The Million Dollar Drop (Nine Network, 2011)
- Millionaire Hot Seat (Nine Network, 2011–18)
- The AFL Footy Show (Nine Network, 2011–18)
- Everybody Dance Now (Network Ten, 2012)
- SlideShow (Seven Network, 2013)
- Q&A, Melbourne episodes (ABC TV, 2016–17)
- The Big Music Quiz (Seven Network 2016)
- "Docklands website". Docklands Studios Melbourne. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
- Goldsmith, Ben (September 2003). O'Regan, Tom, ed. Cinema Cities, Media Cities: The Contemporary International Studio Complex (PDF). Australian Film Commission. pp. 40–42. ISBN 0958015279. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
- Ziffer, Daniel (15 February 2007). "Melbourne in frame gives filmmakers flaming headache". The Age. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
- Bodey, Michael (16 April 2014). "Docklands studios makes it to 10 years". The Australian. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
- Quinn, Karl (24 February 2013). "Film studio attracts more lights, camera, action". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
- Chai, Paul (12 October 2010). "Melbourne studio gets name change". Variety. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
- Knox, David (25 October 2010). "GTV 9 to rent Docklands Studios". TV Tonight. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
- Battersby, Lucy (9 September 2016). "HBO series filmed in Melbourne as government incentives and low dollar work in Australia's favour". The Age. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
- Maddox, Garry (20 December 2016). "Saw creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell both heading home with big film plans". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
- Groves, Don (June 29, 2018). "Australian-Chinese co-production 'The Whistleblower' rolls in Melbourne". IF Magazine. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
- "Departmental media release". Film Victoria. 30 January 2019. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
- "Ministerial media release". Premier of Victoria. 1 June 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2017.