Over the past few weeks no location has been in the news more than Georgia, site of the tragic railroad accident that killed crew member Sarah Jones during the filming of Gregg Allman biopic “Midnight Rider.” The incident — which has renewed concerns for cast and crew safety — should not overshadow the reason so many productions flock to Georgia: a transferable production tax credit of up to 30% of the base investment in the state, according to payroll firm Entertainment Partners (EP).
The incentive has turned the Peach State into a site of robust shooting activity, luring such projects as “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (a franchise it snatched away from nearby North Carolina), “Taken 3,” “Fast & Furious 7” and TV’s “The Walking Dead.”
London is one of the world’s most expensive cities, so why do so many film and TV projects — including the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII” — continue to shoot in and around the British capital? A sarcastic response to that naive question: “It’s the incentives, stupid.”
According to EP, the U.K. has just adjusted its program so that effective April 1, tax relief is available at 25% on the first $33 million of qualifying production expense and 20% thereafter for small and large budget films. Such generosity helped Pinewood Studios outside London land the “Star Wars” project, which is scheduled to shoot there from mid-May through September. With Disney having scooped up Lucasfilm for a cool $4.05 billion in 2012, this will be the first pic in the series not to be distributed by Fox. J.J. Abrams will direct.
Adjacent to Washington, D.C., the Old Line State landed a windfall when the producers of Netflix series “House of Cards” (pictured above) opted to shoot the show in and around Baltimore. A mere 40 miles from the nation’s capital, the city boasts architecture similar to that of its more glamorous neighbor.
It also offers another lure — a refundable tax credit of up to 27% of qualified spend for television series, per EP. The decision to film the show’s first two seasons there was probably a no-brainer for series financier Media Rights Capital, and Maryland has returned more than $26 million to MRC. But MRC wants more and warned Maryland authorities that if they didn’t increase the incentive they would set up production of the third season in another state. So far the issue remains unresolved.
he Empire State has landed a huge commitment from Disney, Marvel, ABC TV Studios and Netflix. In a February press event led by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the companies said they will spend $200 million to produce four live-action TV series that will shoot principally in New York City. Each show will be based on a different Marvel character and the entire package will include at least 60 episodes. Per Cuomo’s office, it’s “the largest film or TV production project commitment in New York history.”
Aside from iconic Gotham locations, the producers were lured by New York’s refundable tax credits for production and post that return 30% of qualifying production local spend and up to 35% of post-production spend, according to EP, with an additional 10% credit on below-the-line labor costs soon to kick in.
When the producers of Joss Whedon’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” decided to shoot a sizeable portion of the film in Korea, the country passed a milestone. Other than 2012’s “The Bourne Legacy,” which filmed in Korea for two days, no other large-scale Hollywood production has shot on the peninsula.
And Whedon’s sequel to “The Avengers” is nothing if not large-scale. The upcoming pic continues its predecessor’s reliance on A-list cast and high-end vfx. Filming in Korea will begin at the end of March. The decision to shoot there came naturally, as much of the story is set in South Korea, but the country’s incentives also played a major role. According to EP, Korea offers up to 30% to foreign productions on expenditures incurred in the country.