As if LeBron James wasnt given enough to relocate to Hollywood, now his big movie is getting a tax break.
The upcoming “Space Jam 2” is the highest profile feature film project to qualify for Californias tax credit program. Produced by “Black Panthers” Ryan Coogler and starring the Lakers new superstar, the sequel to the 1996 Michael Jordan/Looney Tunes hybrid is one of 15 features chosen Monday by the California Film Commission, which administers the $330 million per year production incentives, to make this round of titles rewarded for filming primarily in the Golden State.
Californias Film & TV Tax Credit Program, which is designed to keep shows from running off to places such as Georgia and British Columbia that offer even more generous incentives, picks movie and TV projects several times per year that are projected to generate the most in-state, working class jobs and vendor spending. In June the successful program, now in its fourth year, was extended through 2025 by the legislature and Governor Jerry Brown.
So no, it isnt really King James whos getting the incentive. “Space Jam 2” is projected to spend more that $100 million in the state, $43.2 million of that in wages for grips, drivers, makeup artists and other below-the-line professionals.
In all, the 15 projects that, if completed here, will share this $73.3 million round of reserved tax credits will likely spend $370 million on qualified wages and purchases (and a lot more overall) in California. The job-generation projections are 2,300 crew, 750 cast and 28,000 extras/stand-ins.
While this is, as always, primarily good news for the Southern California region that is the hub of world entertainment production, the incentive program is designed to benefit the whole state, thus ensuring its continued viability with the politicians in Sacramento. So the CFC was especially pleased to note that five of the 15 features chosen this round will shoot outside of the immediate L.A. area,
“One of the goals for Program 2.0 [the incentive operations current name] is to bring production jobs and spending to regions across the state, and were beginning to see that happen more often and on a larger scale,” California Film Commission executive director Amy Lemisch said in a press release. “Were thrilled to see Program 2.0 have such far-reaching benefits.”
“Im thrilled to be shooting in my home state of California,” comic and Bay Area native Andy Samberg, whos producing and starring in another, newly tax credit-awarded feature, “Palm Springs,” said in the same press release. “Not only was I born and raised here, but, as everyone knows, the California Raisins were a major creative influence, which I think will definitely rub off on this production.”
Other features that qualified for this round of tax credit allocations are what sound like two Janis Joplin biopics (“Janis” and “Cry, Baby”), the baseball/reincarnation/kids film “The Boy Who Knew Too Much,” and Liam Neeson playing Raymond Chandlers legendary L.A. private eye Philip “Marlowe.”
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