The United States is reconsidering NAFTA and Donald Trump has started a trade war with Canada and personal attacks upon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but when it comes to Hollywood, the Great While North can declare victory.
For the very first time Canada is the number one production location for movies, according to a FilmLA report released today looking at “the top 100 feature films at the domestic box office released theatrically within the U.S. during the 2017 calendar year” Knocking the tax incentive rich state of Georgia off its 2016 top spot perch and jumping ahead of the much used UK, the Great White North saw an increase of seven features from a similar report of last year from the City of Angels non-profit permitting organization to snag 20 of the biggest big screen offerings of 2017 – as the graphic below from FilmLA reveals.
“For cost conscious filmmakers, the deals in Canada have been too good to ignore,” declares today’s report, laying specific emphasis on the worth of the U.S. dollar in what has long and clearly rightly called “Hollywood North.” In case, you think that this is a big number with not so big pockets – the big movies released last year were responsible for $7.6 billion in direct production spending, FilmLA says.
“The favorable exchange rate came at an ideal time in Canada, specifically for the production hubs in British Columbia and Ontario,” FilmLA points outs, as any tourist, studio, producer or actor on either the big or small screen has picked up for most of the last decade. “In recent years, both provinces trimmed their respective film incentive rates due to escalating cost concerns,” the fifth annual report notes. “The base labor production credit in British Columbia was reduced from 33 percent to 28.8 percent and the all-spend production incentive in Ontario was reduced from 25 percent to 21.5 percent. While there were concerns the reductions would result in less production activity, the favorable exchange rate more than offset the relatively minor reductions to the programs and Canada has never been busier.”
With 11 pics made up in the clearly popular Vancouver and British Columbia, seven movies in Toronto and Ontario, plus one each in Quebec and Manitoba, the tax credit initiating and currency exchange friendly Canada made it to number one with a bit of a disadvantage factored in out of the 14 animated and 86 live-action films in the survey.
Even though The War for the Planet of the Apes was mainly filmed in and around Vancouver, FilmLA didn’t count the Matt Reeves-helmed flick because of the technology necessary to get the July 14, 2017 released War into its final form. “While the film did the vast majority of its principal photography in British Columbia (where it spent more than $81 million (CAD) while filming over 180 days), the production spent more money — $131.5 million (NZD) — on VFX in New Zealand,” asserts FilmLA. Also made in and around Vancouver, Deadpool 2 was not included in Wednesday’s findings as the Ryan Reynolds-led R-rater came out on May 18 this year.
It’s worth also noting that today’s FilmLA report, except for the graphic above, doesn’t really include television production where Los Angeles and NYC are still the top spots for production. Having said that, as Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle and almost everything on the CW from Riverdale to the Arrowverse shows and last year the likes of Fox’s The X-Files return reveals, Vancouver is a big player in small screen production.
Today’s report also unveiled a big screen trend that could see some serious growth that U.S. jurisdictions should be worried about. “From a national perspective, the U.S. served as the primary production location for 50 percent of the top 100 films at the domestic box office in 2017,” FilmLA stated. “This is the lowest share for the U.S. since FilmL.A. began tracking in 2013.”