Mortal Engines was successful in securing the 5% Uplift under the New Zealand Government’s film incentive programme.

100% filmed and produced in New Zealand


10 different stages used

67 sets created

17 separate traction cities built

Over 1000 New Zealanders contracted during principal photography

86 shooting days

72% speaking roles to New Zealanders


 About Mortal Engines

Directed by New Zealander Christian Rivers and featuring Icelandic actress Hera Hilmar as Hester Shaw, Mortal Engines is set in a distant future when Earth’s cities now roam the globe on huge wheels devouring each other in a struggle for ever diminishing resources. 

Adapted from the book by Philip Reeve, Mortal Engines also features Irish actor Robert Sheehan as Tom Natsworthy and Hugo Weaving as Thaddeus Valentine.  The film is Produced by Zane Weiner, Amanda Walker, Deborah Forte, Fran Walsh, and Peter Jackson.


Over 800 Weta Digital artists worked on the visual effects for the movie, with more than 17 traction towns built.  200 art department crew build 67 sets for the main shoot with the largest, St Pauls Cathedral, being built 90% to scale of the original.

Shan Guo set was the tallest - 16m

Air Haven set was the longest - 70m

Scuttlebutt set had 5 sections

Shan Guo used over 70 custom modular city blocks and contained 17 suburbs

Shrike is driven by an internal network of cables and mechanical mechanisms rather than skeleton


Full Service Production

One of the great attractions to filming in New Zealand, Wellington in particular, is that everything is easily accessible, from great locations to film studios. On the Miramar Peninsula it is just a couple of minutes between each of the Weta Group of companies – Stone Street Studios, Weta Workshop, Weta Digital and Park Road Post. It is also becoming a place not just to work in the film industry but to learn the craft too, with education initiatives sprouting from the Weta Group and the establishment of the Miramar Creative centre.

For those working on Mortal Engines having that physical proximity to each other means the collaboration between the facilities is seamless.

Stone Street Studios


The Musical Score

The original score of Mortal Engines was composed by Tom Holkenborg AKA Junkie XL.  He worked alongside the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra to record the score of the film.  The NZSO has had a long and rewarding relationship with film makers in New Zealand, working on The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring and more recently two scores from Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug and  The Battle of The Five Armies

For the NZSO musicians, Mortal Engines has been the most interesting project to work on. Holkenborg separated them into their different sections, recording them on stage individually, giving each part of the orchestra an incredibly rich sound.


Economic Benefits to New Zealand

The economic benefits to New Zealand from Mortal Engines are wide reaching. The film used over 1,500 vendors, of which over 90% were New Zealand based. 


Around $3m was spent overall on accommodation in Wellington including approximately 5,000 room nights in Wellington hotels. 

More than NZ$1.16m was spent on materials with approximately $50k spent with individual vendors, especially in the purchasing of leather.  Caterers fed hundreds of people a day, sometimes over 700 in multiple locations.