The first few months of 2019 were wetter than usual for Los Angeles, and on-location filming in the City of Angels also got drenched.
While that soaking may lead to a blooming of sorts down the line, things look truly underwater right now according to a report released Wednesday by FilmL.A. Down double digits from last year, 2019’s first quarter saw feature production fall 13% and TV production take a 13.4% tumble, according to the nonprofit permitting organization.
Amidst a whopping 60.3% decline in pilots from Q1 2018, a single feature that was awarded tax incentives filming in the city, a 15% drop in commercials and more bad news, overall production is down 9.1% from the stronger than expected results of Q1 2018.
Overall, it marks a stinging 4.8% decline over the five-year average and translates into a total of 8,843 on-location shoot days being logged in the home of Hollywood from January to the end of last month.
Granted there is a bright spot in the category of TV Comedy, with its uptick of a significant 26.8% over last year in no small part to thanks to more platforms. However, in a city that is dealing with a shortage of film stages, the first part of 2019 has nothing much to brag about.
In fact, Q1 2019 is the worst first quarter the city has seen in on-location filming since 2015. Additionally, the fall from Q1 2018 is the harshest quarterly pratfall FilmL.A. has recorded since 2011, when shoot days were adopted as a measure by the organization.
On the flip side of that, 2015 ended up taking the record for production days at the end of that year – until 2016 grabbed the top spot it still holds.
All of which says, especially when more than a dozen tax incentivized features are poised to film here in the coming months, the limp start to 2019 could be only a minor injury.