Five years after the vast expansion of California’s film and television tax incentive program was inked into law by then-Governor Jerry Brown, big budgets, Oscar winners, remakes and rock bios dominated the 13 films that today were announced as the latest round of allocations.
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Led by the $17.5 million awarded to the Silent Era set Damien Chazelle penned and directed and Brad Pitt circling Babylon, which Deadline exclusively reported Monday that Paramount has picked up, the flicks are expected to generate $376 million in qualified below-the-line and vendor spending. That also comes as the California Film Commission unveiled that the $1.1 billion rewarded in first four years of Program 2.0 has produced near on $8.4 billion in spending in the state – not a bad return on investment in the once assumed lost hopes of returning production to the home of Hollywood.
“I’m thrilled to be able to film Babylon here in California, with its rich landscapes and excellent crew members,” said Academy Award winner Chazelle Tuesday. “Thank you to the Film Commission for helping me bring this film to the big screen.”
As you can see from the chart below, Aaron Sorkin’s Amazon Studios Untitled Lucy and Desi bio of trailblazers Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz with Cate Blanchett as the TV legend, and the Eva Longoria directed and produced comedy 24/7 with Kerry Washington also did quite well during this round. As did the untiled high school drama from Paul Thomas Anderson and the Little Shop of Horrors remake produced by David Geffen and Marc Platt, with the latter believed to be aiming towards almost $60 million in in-state spending.
Producers and studios behind the 13 projects announced this morning were notified over the past few days that they were the successful ones among the 54 applications the CFC received during the October 7-11 time period for this allocation round. In a program almost entirely justified by the bottom line, the lucky 13 are projected to give jobs to around 1,960 crew, 698 cast and 26,119 background actors/stand-ins over a combined 587 filming days in the state.
Now much more competitive with the lucrative likes of Georgia, New York, UK and Canadian provinces like British Columbia and Quebec, California’s $330 million a year effort is set in stone to last until at least 2025. Films with budgets over $75 million are eligible for the incentive program since 2014 and attracting over a dozen big budgeted movies to Cali in recent years, the Program 2.0 gain extra life thanks to an extension approved by Brown before leaving office earlier this year.
Up next for the CFC are the results of the just ended November 4 – 8 allocation period for TV projects, which is expected to be unveiled in mid-December. As for feature films, the next round runs from March 9 – 13 next year and will be announced on April 13, 2020.
Don’t forget to submit those applications – worked out pretty well for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.