The latest round of tax credits from the Golden State has given the nod to the latest A Star Is Born, horror pic Annabelle 2, and Disney’s toy store based Overnight On 42nd Street among others, the California Film Commission announced today. As my colleague Mike Fleming Jr. reported last March, the Warner Bros produced A Star Is Born is set to be directed and possibly star Bradley Cooper with Beyonce. (See the full list of projects selected below)
Overall, 13 projects were selected to receive some of the $56.9 million available for this round for what are bureaucratically termed Independent Projects and Non-Independent Projects. Disney’s Overnight snagged the biggest amount with 9.5 million in tax credits. WB’s A Star Is Born was second with $8.9 million. In total there were 174 applications during the January 11 – 26 period aiming for the up to 25% credit to ease their bottom line to stay in the home of Hollywood. This round saw 10 Non-Independent Projects and 3 Independent Projects get picked.
With an estimated $400 million in in-state spending by the projects announced today, nearly half of the films chosen this round are expected to shot outside of the L.A. film zone. Get it While You Can and Save the Cat, for instance are set to film in San Francisco and the central part of the state. Part of the current program awards an additional credit of up to 5% to projects that go into production outside South California.
Overall, feature films make up around 40% of the dedicated funding from the annual $330 million tax incentives that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on September 18, 2014. Today’s announcement is the second round of filming funding under the expanded, enhanced and now non-lottery based state program. The next application period for TV actually starts next week on February 15 with series, pilots, MOWs, miniseries and relocating shows eligible for up to $32.2 million in credits. The CFC has not made the next film application period public yet. This last film period, which closed last month, saw 29 non-independents AKA studio pics apply while 145 indies put their paperwork in digitally.
Under the current plan, projects are primarily assessed on their job creation scope, both directly and indirectly. The CFC says that the projects approved this round will pay out around $174 million in wages to over 2,000 below-the-line crew members. They are also estimated to be employing nearly 540 cast members in total over all 13 projects.
Having said that, according to a recent report by Film L.A., though overall on-location production grew 1.3% in 2015, film production actually dipped 4.2% in 2015 despite the increased moves to lure movies back to Cali. A lot of that has to do with our neighbor to the north with the low Canadian dollar and experienced crews attracting productions to the strong infrastructure of Vancouver and Toronto. Additionally, incentive lucrative Georgia, Louisiana and New York are still proving big magnets for tentpoles.