Californias improved Film & TV Tax Credit Program is working as intended – generating more production jobs and spending in the Golden State – according to a report released Friday by the California Film Commission.
The CFC, which administers the $330 million-per-year tax credit program, noted that in fiscal 2017 hours worked by below-the-line crewmembers were 15.6 percent above the same figure for 2014, the year before the more generous program, known as 2.0, began.
The third year report also noted that nearly $6 billion is expected to be spent in-state by productions that have been allocated tax credits totaling $815 million since 2015. That in-state spending figure was at $3.7 billion in last falls second year report.
“Todays report shows that Program 2.0 is working over the long-term to create high-quality production jobs and increase production spending in California,” the CFCs executive director Amy Lemisch said in a press release. “While our tax credit is far more targeted than most, it does precisely what it was designed to do by keeping us competitive and reminding the industry that California has everything needed to provide the best value.”
Production fled from its traditional home in California earlier in the century as jurisdictions such as Georgia, Canada and the United Kingdom offered producers lucrative incentives that they just couldnt refuse. While those places still have sweeter deals than Sacramento allows, things turned around for the state when its $100 million-per-year, more restrictive and less reliable 1.0 tax incentive program was replaced by 2.0. The report notes that Southern Californias soundstages are operating near peak capacity, triggering efforts to build new facilities for filming.
Among other things 2.0 aimed to do was attract more big-budget (over $75 million) feature films to California, and the third-year report notes that five of them – Marvels superhero spectacular “Captain Marvel,” Quentin Tarantinos “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Call of the Wild,” “Ford v. Ferrari” and “Island Plaza” (reportedly the working title for Tom Cruises “Top Gun” sequel) – took advantage of the deal during the 2017 application period. The first two years of the program combined registered five such features, and the total 10 account for $1.1 billion of in-state spending.
In Year Three, two more TV series, “Timeless” and “Sneaky Pete,” relocated to California from out of state, bringing the total number of shows that have done so under 2.0 to 15.
So far, the 2.0 productions are on-track to spend $2.25 billion on qualified, below-the-line wages (above-the-line actors, directors, writers and producers salaries dont qualify for the states tax credits), $1.89 billion on qualified vendor purchases and an additional $1.85 billion on stuff that doesnt earn tax credits.
Productions that have had 2.0 tax credits allocated are expected to employ more than 29,000 crew and 18,000 cast members. Third party data from SAG-AFTRA and the Motion Picture Industry Pension & Health Plans was used to compile the report. The fiscal years covered by the report run from July 1 to June 30.