California Tax Incentives: Chris Evans’ ‘Gray Man’, Jessica Chastain’s ‘Losing Clementine’ & Untitled Jordan Peele Pic Clinch Big Bucks

Several major films primed to begin production just got some big bucks to shoot in California.

Netflix’s Russo Brothers-directed The Gray Man, the Jessica Chastain-starrer Losing Clementine and an untitled Jordan Peele project for Universal were among nine films allocated $50,053,000 collectively in the last round of Golden State tax credits. Though a return to production has been slow going as California’s coronavirus surges spiked in the last month, all nine films are expected to begin production by early next year.

As you can see in the chart below, the Chris Evans- and Ryan Gosling-starring thriller The Gray Man snagged the largest sum in the first round of what is being termed “Program 3.0” of the incentive initiative.

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With $20 million, the movie (which Deadline revealed last month) received just a touch less than what Captain Marvel and Sherlock Holmes 3 got from the California Film Commission program in 2017 and 2019, respectively. Still, this looks to be the most ever handed out to a streamer.

Netflix has high hopes the $200 million-budgeted Gray Man will become a franchise. The state has some high hopes for Gray Man too, with the CFC estimating the film will bring in more than $102 million in below-the-line wages and other sanctioned expenditures to California.

Other films on today’s list include the Chastain-starrer Losing Clementine, the Octavia Spencer-led sci-fi pic Invasion, Nightfall, the NBA drama Sweetwater, the Untitled Jimmy Warden Project and the Untitled Peele Project. Each picked up a little more credit by committing to film outside Los Angeles’ 30-Mile Studio Zone. California’s tax incentive program adds a minimum of 5% more credit if productions film a “significant” amount of their movie outside the City of Angels.

“We are thrilled to be part of the new Program 3.0 and to be able to base Losing Clementine production in California,” said Losing Clementine producer and Sentient Entertainment president Renée Tab on Monday. “We searched other locations, but thanks to the tax credit we can film here at home where the story is set.”

Overall, the five indie films and four “non-independent” films, as the CFC calls them, are projected to bring in about $284 million in qualified state spending. Combined, the estimate is that the films will hire 1,340 crew members, 342 cast and 14,397 background actors/stand-ins. However, COVID-19 restrictions and health concerns may see background actors/stand-ins become a relic of another era.

While on the rebound since then Governor Jerry Brown inked an expansion of the previously meager California tax credits scheme to $330 million annually in 2014, the home of Hollywood continues to struggle to seduce big movies away from heavily incentivized markets such as Georgia, New York state, Vancouver and the UK.

This is a windfall for Gray Man, which is produced by the Russos’ AGBO, but it isn’t the largest ever allocation from the Golden State to Hollywood. That distinction still goes to the Transformers spinoff Bumblebee and Space Jam 2, with $22.4 million and $21.8 million in credits, respectively.

The window was open on this latest round of allocations from July 13-15, with applications submitted digitally. The Colleen Bell-led CFC says 81 films applied last month for the credits, before nine made the conditional cut. As the state suffers unprecedented deficits due to ther consequences of the coronavirus, the most recent small-screen awards were announced August 3, with a reboot of HBO’s In Treatment and TBS’ Daniel Radcliffe-fronted Miracle Workers moving out West too.

The next round of TV applications can be filed from September 28-30 for relocating projects and October 5-7 for recurring projects. The COVID-19 crisis remains a caveat of when production can commence.

The next round of big-screen applications run January 25-27, 2021.