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450 Wellingtonians worked on Disney’s $US200m ‘Mulan’

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The $US200m Disney feature film Mulan, which begins its worldwide release on Friday night, had substantial participation from the Wellington creative community.

The production, directed by New Zealander Niki Caro (Whalerider) employed 1500 New Zealanders including 400 at Weta Digital and over 50 at Weta Workshop – where armour and more than 4000 weapons were made for the movie.

News from NZFC
Walt Disney’s Mulan, the latest feature film from New Zealand director Niki Caro, will release globally on Friday night at 7pm. Filmed on location around New Zealand, Mulan tells the epic tale of China’s legendary female warrior who risks everything out of love for her family and her country, to become one of the greatest warriors China has known.

More than 1500 New Zealanders worked on the movie, over a total of 143 shooting days. 70% of the filming took place in multiple locations around Auckland, with Canterbury’s Ahuriri Valley and the Waitaki District standing in for China.

Caro said the energy on set from day one was overwhelmingly positive. “As one of a small number of women directing large budget studio features, this was an amazing opportunity to come home to. In New Zealand, this crew just wrapped their arms around this movie and around me, and that gave me so much strength to hold this story up.”

More than 4000 weapons were made for the movie, over 1000 costumes created and 118 horses used in filming. Trick riders were brought in from Kazakhstan and Mongolia performing stunts on horseback during battle scenes. Local suppliers such as Weta Workshop and Weta Digital, The Rebel Fleet and Moxion brought expertise to the production. 400 people were employed by Weta Digital and over 50 by Weta Workshop.

Producer Jason Reed said it would’ve been hard to have made a film of this scale, with so much production value, in any other country. “There are two elements to that. The first is the dramatic scenery, and the second is having an infrastructure that is so film friendly, to have crews that know how to work on big movies, that know how to handle massive amounts of logistics that also are artistically driven. And we had Weta Workshop to do our armor and make our weapons.”

Mulan received the New Zealand Screen Production Grant and successfully secured the extra 5% uplift. A small number of international productions which qualify for the 20% grant and offer significant economic benefits to New Zealand may be invited to apply for the 5% uplift if it is anticipated they will provide significant additional economic benefits to New Zealand.

More than 2000 Kiwi vendors were used during the production with over $200 million dollars spent in New Zealand. $10m was spent on accommodation. Mulan is the largest feature film production to be based in Auckland and was the first to use the two state of the art sound stages at Kumeu Film Studios.

New Zealand Film Commission CEO Annabelle Sheehan says Mulan is another example of how the NZSPG is generating and attracting high value productions. “Projects like Mulan attract hundreds of millions of dollars into New Zealand and create thousands of jobs. This is new money, providing a massive boost to our economy. We are so proud of what Niki Caro and everyone associated with the production has achieved.”

Mulan will be available on Disney + with Premier Access from Friday at 7pm.

Hollywood Reporter: Mulan review

Mulan is available for digital download on Disney+ for $39.99 – it also requires a current Disney+ subscription ($9.99 a month or $99 a year). Mulan is rated PG (violence).

1 comment:

  1. Lindsay, 4. September 2020, 17:54

    It’s all very well to celebrate the high level of employment that resulted from this Disney production. But in return for receiving millions from the government’s screen production fund, the American producers should have enabled New Zealanders to see this spectacular film (with its gorgeous South Island locations) on big screens in cinemas – which is how it was meant to be released – instead of restricting it to pay per view television. Audiences in China and Russia will be seeing it in cinemas. The NZ government should have made a cinema release a basic condition of paying out its grant. But no doubt when the deal was done, no one had dreamt of covid 19.