April sked 47% behind last year's numbers

HOLLYWOOD — Off-lot feature production in Los Angeles has remained at subdued levels and 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 April’s activity lagging 47% behind the April 2001 number, according to figures released Tuesday by the Entertainment Industry Development Corp.

“Feature production was picking up over the last two weeks of April, but it’s still been somewhat less than what we had hoped for,” said EIDC VP Morrie Goldman. “We expect features to keep rebounding in the coming months.”

Still bouncing back

Permitted production days totaled 694 last month, off slightly from March’s total of 723 but a significant improvement from the deeply depressed totals of 408 in February and 256 days in January. Notable features currently shooting in Los Angeles include Fox/New Regency’s “Daredevil” 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. Once the strikes failed to materialize, Los Angeles feature activity fell sharply due to the impacts of excess inventory, the sour economy and the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

TV shines the light

By contrast, TV activity continued to post solid figures, with April’s off-lot TV total nearly double that of features, with 1,299 days, off just six days from the TV total in March. “The TV pilot season was very strong this year for us,” Goldman said.

Commercials activity remained mild in April with 476 days, down 11 days from March and 151 from February.

April’s commercials number was up 16% from April 2001, but 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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