New Thor and Alien movies to be shot in Australia

SYDNEY (AFP) - Big-budget blockbusters, including Marvel's next Thor instalment and Ridley Scott's new Alien film, will be shot in Australia from next year, the government said on Thursday.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the deal to film Marvel Studios' Ragnarok, starring Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, and Mr Scott's production for Twentieth Century Fox would generate 3,000 jobs and A$300 million (S$300.6 million) for the economy.

"Australia's creative industries are well placed to take advantage of a growing global economy and I have been actively promoting Australia for the production of major international films," Ms Bishop said.

The announcement comes after recent trips to the United States during which Ms Bishop lauded Australia for its highly qualified workforce, innovative technology, stable economy and low dollar.

The original Thor in 2011, based on the Marvel Comics character and starring Mr Hemsworth, was a box office smash and was followed by a sequel Thor: The Dark World in 2013, also starring Mr Hemsworth.

The sci-fi horror movie Alien, directed by Mr Scott, was a cult hit in 1979 and led to three sequels.

He is directing four prequels, beginning with the 2012 release of Prometheus.

The latest instalment to be shot in Australia will be the second in that series, tipped to be called Alien: Paradise Lost.