California Film & TV Incentives Boosted Below-The-Line Wages By $1.4 Billion

Deadline Hollywood

California’s film and TV production incentives program has produced a sustained 12% increase in the number hours worked in the state by below-the-line crew members, generating an additional $1.4 billion in their wages during the first two years of the expanded program, according to the latest annual report of the California Film Commission, which administers the program.

The expanded incentives, called Program 2.0, was enacted in 2015 and tripled the amount of tax incentives available to qualified productions. The report found that some $3.7 billion in direct in-state spending was generated by Program 2.0 during its first two years.

“The encouraging short-term results we reported in last year’s annual report have evolved into sustained and very encouraging long-term results for Program 2.0,” California Film Commission Executive Director Amy Lemisch said in a statement. “The expanded tax credit program is working as intended and having a real impact.”

During fiscal year 2016-17, $339 million was allocated to 64 film and television projects – or an average of about $8.60 from each of California’s 39.25 million residents. Paramount’s Bumblebee, the Transformers spinoff due out next year, was the single largest recipient of tax-payer largess during the last fiscal year, with $22.4 million in reserved credits. Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, from director Ava DuVernay, is set to receive $18,128,000. Rounding out the top three, Lucifer, the WB TV series, will get $16.8 million.

Paramount’s Island Plaza will receive nearly $21.5 million in fiscal year 2017-18; Captain Marvel will get more than $20.7 million, and Roland Emmerich’s Midway will receive nearly $14 million. Here is a complete list of all the films and TV shows that have received or are scheduled to receive state tax incentives.


The program takes special aim at luring TV shows from other states, giving applicants much greater certainty that tax credits will be available if they decide to relocate here.

During the first two years of Program 2.0, a total of 11 series were selected under the Relocating Television Series category, including Ballers, which moved here from Florida; American Horror Story and Scream Queens, which relocated from Louisiana; Veep, from Maryland; American Crime from Texas; The Affair and The OA, which moved from New York; Secrets and Lies, which migrated from North Carolina; and Legion, Lucifer and Mistress, which moved from Vancouver. During the first application period of Program Year Three, California gained another relocating project in Timeless, which also relocated from Vancouver.

The incentives program also gives extra incentives to projects that shoot outside of Los Angeles. Under Program 2.0, tax credit projects are on track to spend $28 million across 10 counties outside Los Angeles County.

Projects are selected for tax credits based on their “Jobs Ratio” score, which is determined by the amount of qualified wages the project will generate divided by the amount of tax credits to be allocated, plus other factors including qualified spending for vendors and equipment. The base Jobs Ratio score can be increased up to 25% by accruing “bonus points” for in‐state spending on visual effects, filming outside the Los Angeles 30‐mile zone, and filming at approved production facilities. All applications submitted during an application period are ranked from highest to lowest against comparable projects according to their Jobs Ratio score.

The Film Commission, however, says that the law that created the program does not allow it to reveal which projects were denied tax credits. La La Land and the acclaimed HBO series Big Little Lies both were shot in the state without receiving any tax incentives. Deadline has filed a Public Records Act request seeking information about why they did not receive tax credits.

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