Off-studio prod’n off a lot in April

Features down, TV strong despite drop from March

Off-lot production activity in Hollywood cooled off considerably during April from the robust levels seen earlier this year as concerns about shooting projects overseas appeared to ease.

Feature production in April was by far the lowest of 2003, totaling only 406 days and down 27% from March and 41% from April 2002, according to figures released Friday by the Entertainment Industry Development Corp.

EIDC veep Darryl Seif said feature activity during May is likely to remain steady and may improve somewhat from April levels. Features lensing locally include “Cheaper by the Dozen,” “Garfield” and “The Haunted Mansion,” with work expected to begin soon on the “Spider-Man” sequel.

Doldrums in 2001, 2002

Local feature production activity plunged in the second half of 2001 and in early 2002, when it hit lows of 256 days in January and 408 days in February. Features had remained above 1,000 days in each of the first six months of 2001 due to stockpiling amid fears that actors and writers would strike.

TV production remained strong during April at 1,281 permitted days but was down 18% from the record-setting 1,682 days in March, though well above the mark of 1,066 days in February.

Commercials activity returned to the doldrums in April with 475 days after breaking out of a long slump with 706 days in March and 587 days for February. Commercials activity hit a peak of 810 days in January 2001, and production has exceeded 600 days in a month only three times since then.

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