L.A. off-lot shoots off

Feature prod'n lags 39% behind June 2001

HOLLYWOOD — Off-lot feature production in Los Angeles has remained at depressed levels far below last year’s super-charged pace.

Although Hollywood activity has stepped up from winter’s deeply depressed totals, the hoped-for recovery remains mild with June’s activity lagging 39% behind the June 2001 number, according to figures released Tuesday by the Entertainment Industry Development Corp.

Permitted production days for features totaled 614 last month, the lowest figure since the deeply depressed totals of 408 in February and 256 days in January. Notable features shooting in Los Angeles include “Daredevil,” “Down With Love,” “Solaris” and “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.”

The 2002 figures continue to contrast sharply with the high-powered activity of the first half of 2001, when every month from January to June totaled more than 1,000 days as producers stockpiled in anticipation of writers and actors strikes. First-half feature days totaled 3,519 this year, barely half the 6,952 days that were logged during the first six months of 2001.

“Last year’s first-half feature production was really an anomaly,” said Steve Dayan, business rep for Teamsters Local 399 Location Managers. Dayan noted that the once the strikes failed to materialize, Los Angeles feature activity fell sharply last year mostly due to the impact of excess inventory.

“When we get to the end of 2002, we should be looking at a fairly normal year,” he added. “There are at least 20 features in pre-production and most of them are in Los Angeles.”

TV shoots down

June’s off-lot TV activity also generated a subdued total of 628 days, off 20% from June 2001 and by far the lowest total of the year. EIDC VP Morrie Goldman said drop was due to many shows being on hiatus.

Commercials activity remained mild in April with 428 days, the second lowest total of the year. The ad sector has been depressed since early last year, when 810 days were logged in January, followed by 682 days in February.

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