Latest California Lottery Still Lacks Megamillions

Hollywood’s most closely watched lottery is just five weeks away.

Producers will soon learn which films and TV shows will be awarded this year’s coveted state tax credits. The June 2 lottery, conducted by the California Film Commission, decides which projects will receive 20% of production costs.

The commission expects approximately the same number of applicants this year as last. Out of the 380 projects submitted last year, 31 productions, including the “Entourage” film and “Pretty Little Liars” — were selected to divvy up $100 million in credits. The number of submissions was up 18% last year over 2012.

California’s program is far less generous than those in rival states, such as Louisiana, and some other countries, with the continued exodus of production from Hollywood’s backyard costing the Golden State millions in lost wages. Legislation to expand the program was introduced in February, though backers have yet to say how much will be allocated. The bill has been OK’d by one Assembly committee, and it should be heading for final approval in August.

Projects selected must start production within 180 days or forfeit the credit. Replacements are drawn from the waiting list. Due to the volatility of the industry and production schedules, however, credits often wind up not being used. Among the waiting-list shows selected this year: Lionsgate’s reboot of “Dirty Dancing.” The state agreed to a $5.8 million credit on $29 million of qualified expenses in January. But all indications are that the project, which must start shooting by July 7 to qualify, and has made no casting moves, will see its credit expire.

And the state will need to pick a new dance partner.

(Illustration by Gary Musgrave)

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