Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds might be adding Vancouver Man of the Year to his various accolades soon — at least if local crews and politicians have any say. Shot in the Canadian city, the Vancouver-born actor’s merc-with-a-mouth Fox blockbuster helped propel Hollywood North to a record year for film and TV production in 2015, local officials revealed today.
Also aided by a currently low Canadian dollar, generous tax incentives and a long-established crew and infrastructure base, Vancouver saw a 40% surge in production over 2014. To break that down, that’s primarily fueled by Deadpool and 25 other feature films, 158 commercials and 309 TV episodes. It’s not apples-to-apples, but compare that to the 1.3% growth in on-location filming that L.A. had last year, according to a recent FilmLA report. With California’s now-increased $330 million-a-year tax credits, the City of Angels is still the top location in North America for filming. However, with a total of 353 productions last year and 1,518 filming days, Vancouver is now solidly in third place on the continent after NYC. As a sign the good times are far from over production-wise, film location permits in Vancouver were up 30% in January this year over 2015.
Hollywood producers and studio and network execs have been griping for months about how hard it is to find space and crews in Vancouver in the past year. With double-digit jumps in major categories, it’s easy to see why they are having a problem; Vancouver, in that sense, might be a victim of its own success right now. The city had an increase of 10 features over the 16 filmed there in 2014, 11 more TV series over the year before for a total of 45 and six more pilots to the new high of 16. Add to that 53 more commercials and six more smaller productions, and it is estimated by civic authorities that the Pacific Rim town that plays everywhere saw $103,875,351.58 U.S. paid out to locals in wages – BTW, that’s $143 million in Canadian dollars.
In fact, while nicknamed Saltwater City, Vancouver could now be known as Superhero City — and not just thanks to Deadpool. Besides the more than $40 million that the Fox released R-rated Marvel superhero film spent in the city over 58 days of filming, some of Vancouver’s other big new productions were the CW broadcast DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow and Fox’s Lucifer. Added to the Vancouver legacy productions of Arrow and The Flash, plus Supernatural, The 100 and iZombie, Warner Bros Television once again is the city’s “biggest TV client,” according to data from the Mayor’s office today.
This news from up north comes as the latest application period for TV productions seeking a piece of California’s tax credits in underway. Having started on February 15 and running until noon on February 22, eligible series, pilots, MOWs, miniseries and relocating shows are competing to be one of those awarded some of the $32.2 million in credits available this round. In the last TV round announced in December, the California Film Commission was particularly proud that it had snagged the previously Vancouver-shot Mistresses to now go into production on its fourth season in the Golden State. The relocation credit was apparently offered to other Vancouver-made series but was declined due to the overwhelming advantage the Canadian city still provided when the currency exchange and Provincial tax credits were factored in.
The city’s rise also was given some extra juice with the return of The X-Files to Vancouver last year. All six episodes of the recent revival starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were made up north. Most of the original Fox series from Chris Carter was shot in and around Metro Vancouver during the first five easons of The X-Files’ initial run. It seems the truth, at least production-wise, is out there — up north.