Filming of Hollywood Blockbuster at MCEC – Venue’s Response to Pandemic Sees New Uses for Spaces

Press Room > 2020

The coronavirus restrictions have seen Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre explore new ways to use their unutilised spaces such as, the filming of a Hollywood blockbuster starring Liam Neeson and the training of Victorian Guide Dogs.

MCEC closed its doors in March due to the pandemic, but as a major contributor to the Victorian economy, the venue has been exploring new ways to contribute to the community.

“Even with the impacts of the pandemic, we contributed AUD 740 million in economic impact to the state last financial year, and a further AUD 1.1 billion the year prior,” said Peter King, chief executive of MCEC.

“We can play an important role in the state’s economic recovery by using our spaces in new ways both, to bring jobs back to the city and support the wider community.”

One example of using the enormous venue’s space differently includes as a film studio, an idea that was originally floated as part of an innovative hackathon held by MCEC in August called ‘Unconventional Ideas’.

Since that event, MCEC has been working with the Victorian screen industry, and is now hosting the production of a major Hollywood film called Blacklight, starring Liam Neeson and directed by Mark Williams. The production is expected, to bring more than 500 local jobs for cast and crew back to the local film sector.

MCEC however continues to explore new uses for the venue as Melbourne moves towards a new normal utilising, the creativity and experience of its employees. The venue for example, has already installed new virtual event studios and technologies for hybrid and online events.

In the pipeline are opportunities to use the building, for safe and physically-distanced entertainment and events that can support the hospitality, cinema and arts industries that are affected by the pandemic.