Producers often walk a tightrope between keeping production costs in check and ensuring that the quality and authenticity of the movie doesn’t suffer in any way. They’ve increasingly been looking at ‘greener pastures’ away from California that offer lucrative film tax incentives while also serving as good locations for physical production.
A latest example of the growing trend of big budget movies turning to overseas locales is the upcoming (2015) $100 million thriller ‘San Andreas’ starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Interestingly, the movie explores the aftermath of a massive 10.0 earthquake in San Francisco. Instead of SF, the movie will be shot in Australia’s Gold Coast. Another example is the $70 million flick ‘Battle: Los Angeles’ that was shot in Louisiana. So, what does Louisiana have that LA doesn’t?
Louisiana is the #1 spot for Hollywood movie production
In 2013, Louisiana zoomed past New York and California as the most preferred movie production destination for Hollywood movies. It formally introduced film tax incentives in 2002, and currently offers a 30 per cent transferable tax credit to all productions that meet a $300,000 in-state budget threshold. By comparison, California rolled out incentives in 2009 and it was slim pickings until a legislative change in August this year increased the credits pool from a previous $100 million to $330 million per year. However, it may have come a bit late given that the state lost over 15,000 film jobs between 2004 and 2012.
Meanwhile, production costs on major feature films in LA have shot up significantly in recent years. Filming in town has become financially unviable for producers.
Canada remains a favorite
Canada’s biggest conquest following its tax credit incentive program in 1997 was ‘Titanic’. Top-grossing movies such as ‘Brokeback Mountain’, ‘Mean Girls’ and ‘Chicago’ followed suit. The country presently offers a refundable federal tax credit equivalent to 16 per cent of qualified residential labor costs. If you factor in provincial offers, the overall credits can climb up to 70 per cent of eligible labor costs and 30 per cent of miscellaneous local expenses.
Hollywood movies being shot in Canada this year include Robert Zemeckis’ ‘The Walk’ starring Joseph Gordon Levitt, Roland Emmerich’s ‘Stonewall’, and John Crowley’s ‘Brooklyn’.
States that have cut back on film tax incentives
Michigan and North Carolina recently slashed their state tax credits, and have consequently witnessed a fall in Hollywood production. NC, which has hosted such major productions as ‘Hunger Games’ looks set to lose HBO hit ‘Homeland’, which has so far been filmed in and around Charlotte.
No matter where your filming takes you finding qualified and reliable local production crews is a must! At the Global Media Desk we work with the finest, most respected local professionals in cities and countries around the world. Our production crews have the experience, creativity and know-how to make them the very best in the business. Contact us to find out how we can help make your production a success.