After a decade of seeing ‘runaway’ productions leaving to shoot in Canada, other US states and parts of Europe, in 2009 California finally introduced a film tax incentive intended to add a fiscal bonus to the underlying attractions of the historical home of the US entertainment industry: a vast production infrastructure, thousands of famous locations and year-round shoot-friendly weather. The original programme, though, was seen by many as a half measure, and it took the 2015 launch of the state’s redesigned ‘2.0’ film and TV tax credit programme to really start pulling production back to the Golden State.
Category - North America
With its modern multicultural cities, quaint small towns, spectacular national parks and landmarks such as Niagara Falls and the snow-capped Banff mountains, Canada has plenty to offer in terms of locations. But it has been thanks largely to a long-established incentive system — and an exchange rate that favours many outside producers — that the country has become known as ‘Hollywood North’, with a major production sector, leading VFX companies and a thriving animation business.
With a diverse geography taking in the Rocky Mountains, plains and deserts, Colorado attracts film-makers mostly because of its locations, though the state’s incentive programme is also a draw.
Though it once ranked as the third biggest production centre in the US, and hosted the shoot for this year’s best picture Oscar winner Moonlight, Florida faces an uncertain future where film and TV production is concerned. The state’s underlying assets — year-round sunshine, a well-developed film and TV infrastructure, iconic beaches, the city of Miami and the Florida Keys, are all still there. But the 20%-30% tax credit that since 2010 helped lure such features as Iron Man 3, Marley & Me and Tomorrowland was allowed to sunset in June 2016 after going short of funding for two years. According to an estimate from local industry organisation Film Florida, 50 film and TV projects that would have spent a total of $875m in the state have since gone elsewhere to shoot.
Georgia has grown to become the third busiest production hub in the US, hosting 245 film and TV projects in fiscal 2016 (down three from 2015), representing a direct spend of $2.2bn (up 19% from the previous year).
Hawaii attracts film and TV productions requiring specific kinds of locations — notably jungle and beaches — or looking to shoot at some of the world’s top surfing spots. Producers often find ways to get other looks as well, alleviating the need for long trips back to the US mainland. The state’s refundable tax credit is also a lure, and total production expenditures in Hawaii grew from $243.5m in 2015 to $263.2m in 2016, with last year’s activity creating $455.3m in economic output and 2,790 jobs, according to the state. For 2017, production expenditures had reached $139.7m by March 20. Major films shot recently include Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, 20th Century Fox’s Amy Schumer comedy Snatched and Warner Bros’ Kong: Skull Island. ABC/Marvel series Inhumans started shooting recently.
With its 30% credit, strong crew base and good infrastructure, Louisiana has been one of the biggest US production hubs since the start of the incentives era. In 2016, the state says it certified $893m in production expenditures, compared to $863m in 2015.
Longtime Super Bowl advertiser Hyundai purchased two 30-second in-game TV slots during the February 2016 climax to the NFL season. Hiring four world-class directors from Santa Monica-based Biscuit Filmworks to help create their Super Bowl 50 ads, Hyundai faced-off in the first quarter of the game with The Chase. Directed by Aaron Stoller, the brief thriller ad shows two hikers being chased through the woods by hungry bears, before escaping in their new 2017 Elantra — thanks to the car’s remote-start function.