Coen Brothers, Eva Longoria & Steven Soderbergh Films Among 22 Features Allocated CA Tax Credits

(L-R) Coen Brothers, Eva Longoria and Steven Soderbergh AP; Mega

Dangling $86.9 million in front of some big-ticket projects from Oscar winners and former Desperate Housewives, the California Film Commission was feeling particularly generous this morning.

Joel and Ethan Coen’s new Scarface, the Eva Longoria helmed Flamin Hot, Steven Soderbergh’s HBO Max-set KIMI with Zoë Kravitz, which Deadline exclusively reported on last week, and the Reese Witherspoon produced Ashley’s War are among 22 projects awarded lucrative tax credits in the latest round from the Golden State’s $330 million annual program. Playing to the jobs-based program’s bottom line, the 11 independent and 11 “non-independent,” as the Colleen Bell-run CFC quaintly terms them, films are anticipated to generate some big bucks for coronavirus battered California.

To be specific, the return on investment is expected to haul in about $642 million in overall spending in the state. Of that, over $430 million will go into the pockets of below-the-line workers and in-state vendors. Almost equally important politically to the overlords in Sacramento, over 50% of the films allocated incentives in this latest round will be shooting significantly outside the gravitational pull of LA’s 30-mile Studio Zone, affectionately known as TMZ.

As you can see from the chart below, the biggest winner among the conditionally approved films is the Jason Bateman directed and produced Here Comes the Flood from Ozark home Netflix.

While a sweet chuck of change, the nearly $14 million that the Simon Kinberg penned heist flick has been given is far from the record in Cali tax credits. In fact, it is even far below the $20 million that the Russo Brothers’ directed The Gray Man received back in August last year. The record goes to Transformers spinoff Bumblebee and Space Jam 2, with $22.4 million and $21.8 million in credits, respectively. few years back.

Now seven years since then Gov. Jerry Brown took the state’s incentives program off life support and a ludicrous lottery system, the January 25 – February 1 application period saw a staggering 61 projects file their paperwork for a shot at the internationally competitive tax credits.  As the state slowly begins to bounce back as Covid-19 cases continue to go down, vaccinations go up and production swells heading deeper into the year, the tax credits have taken on greater urgency as part of a wider economic revival for California.

Desired translation: more big movies shot in California mean more jobs both directly and in-directly for Californians and a gradual return to a healthy tax base.

In that vein, the next application period for TV projects is coming up fast on March 8 -15. For big screen hopefuls, their next swing at the tax credits will come in July, with dates TBD.

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