Off-lot production in Los Angeles posted solid gains in September, with feature activity jumping 42% over September 2004 while TV rose 5%, according to figures released Wednesday by the Entertainment Industry Development Corp.
Feature activity for the first nine months increased 11% over the same period, the permitting agency said. The EIDC said the hike in feature activity was due largely to the diminished lure of foreign locations thanks to the weak U.S. dollar — which cannot be relied upon for the long term.
“Furthermore, feature film production still trails its 10-year average by more than 9%, never having recovered from seven straight years of decline from 1996-2003,” EIDC prexy Steve MacDonald noted. “Fierce competition to host feature-film production continues within the U.S. and around the world.”
Off-lot features totaled about 850 permitted days in September — well below the month’s record high of 1,306 in September 1997. Recent features shooting in Los Angeles include “Flags of Our Fathers,” “Fun With Dick and Jane,” “The Fast and the Furious 3,” “Chronicles,” “Southland Tales” and “Mission: Impossible 3.”
TV activity, which has kept Los Angeles as the center of industry production, continued to post impressive numbers in September with permitted days near 1,700 and year-to-date totals up 3.8% and on track to surpass last year’s record-setting total of 18,257 — nearly double the total in 1996. But MacDonald warned that Hollywood needs to work to retain TV.
“Although television production has clearly been a bright spot over the last three years, Los Angeles remains at risk, as other regions elevate their efforts to lure television production jobs and revenue,” he said. “At least six television series are currently filming in Canada, and another nine in North Carolina, New York and Chicago.”
Current TV series shooting in Los Angeles include “24,” “My Name Is Earl,” “Night Stalker,” “Scrubs,” “Invasion,” “CSI,” “CSI: N.Y.” “CSI: Miami” and “Numbers.”