You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Give ‘n’ take on tax cuts

Bill includes an effort to curb runaway production

WASHINGTON — The curtain is rapidly closing on Congress’ legislative session and, right now, directors and independent filmmakers are the only members of the entertainment industry offering a standing ovation.

After working through the weekend and the Columbus Day holiday, the Senate put its final seal of approval Monday on a massive corporate tax bill that’s been wending its way through Congress all year. The House approved the legislation last week, and it now awaits the president’s signature.

Bill is a mixed bag for Hollywood. It contains tax relief for movies with budgets between $1 million and $15 million that are made in the U.S. (or up to $20 million if the film is made in a “distressed” area of the country) — an effort to curb runaway production.

But it also will cost the major studios some $4 billion-$6 billion in tax increases over the next decade because House Republicans refused to include a different measure to allow filmmakers to take advantage of tax benefits on lower-profit theatrical distribution separately from higher-margin DVD and broadcast TV sales.

Even the runaway production provision was scaled down from its original version, which would have offered relief for most movies filmed in the U.S. — even blockbusters like “Chicago,” which sparked protests when it was made in Toronto instead of the eponymous U.S. city.

Still, industry sectors that had been trying to convince Congress to protect U.S. film jobs for years were jubilant late Monday.

“It is the (Directors Guild of America’s) hope that this ground-breaking federal tax-incentive legislation, in combination with a growing number of state and local incentives, will stem the tide of film and television productions, and the jobs they create, from going abroad,” DGA prexy Michael Apted said in a statement.

The Independent Film and Television Alliance also cheered the hard-fought victory.

“We’re incredibly gratified with this legislation,” IFTA prexy Jean Prewitt said, calling the bill “the first step” to making production in the U.S. more financially attractive to small independent producers.

TV broadcasters could have something to crow about: the death of a bill that would have dramatically boosted fines for indecency violations.

The indecency bill took a serious beating late last week when it was dropped from a must-pass defense bill. Although its author, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) has already re-introduced the legislation as a separate bill, its chances this session look very slim.

A raft of anti-piracy bills, which the industry pushed all year, also appears to be facing a watery grave at the end of the session.

More Film

  • Chosen Ones Artwork

    The Yellow Affair Picks Up Swedish YA Sci-Fi/Thriller ‘Chosen Ones’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    GÖTEBORG, Sweden — Scandi sales shingle The Yellow Affair has added to its Göteborg lineup the Swedish series “The Chosen Ones” (“Det Utvalda”), currently playing on Swedish pubcaster SVT’s streaming service SVT Play. The short form sci-fi thriller stars a strong Swedish female cast of model-turned actress Frida Gustavsson (“Swoon”), singer/actress Amy Deasismont (“Gösta”, “My [...]

  • A still from LANCE by Marina

    'Lance': Film Review

    Late in the film “Lance,” a documentary that depicts the ascent and the crash of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, the subject recalls the disappearance of his lucrative sponsorships. These deals — with a massive market value and a perhaps more important intangible value of keeping him in the public eye as a figure of rectitude [...]

  • Palm Springs

    'Palm Springs' Breaks Sundance Record for Biggest Sale Ever -- By 69 Cents

    Andy Samberg’s “Palm Springs” has just broken the record for the biggest sale in the history of the Sundance film festival — by $0.69. A joint announcement on Monday from Hulu and indie distributor Neon confirmed the existential comedy was purchased for $17,500,000.69, in a sale brokered by UTA Independent Film Group. That figure exceeds [...]

  • The Truffle Hunters

    Sundance: Sony Pictures Classics Buys 'The Truffle Hunters'

    Sony Pictures Classics has acquired worldwide rights to “The Truffle Hunters” out of the Sundance Film Festival. The pact is for $1.5 million, according to an insider. The documentary follows a handful of men in Piedmont, Italy as the search for rare and expensive white Alba truffles. It’s a lifestyle that is off-the-grid, one without [...]

  • Saweetie62nd Annual Grammy Awards, Arrivals, Los

    When 'Birds of Prey' Came Calling, 'I Passed Out,' Says Saweetie

    “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” the R-rated girl gang-driven comic book actioner starring Margot Robbie and directed by Cathy Yan, bows in theaters Feb. 7 — the same date its equally female-driven soundtrack drops. And the latter even has its own trailer.  The film’s playlist includes tracks by Megan [...]

  • The Evening Hour

    'The Evening Hour': Film Review

    A small town already down on its luck receives a few fresh kicks in “The Evening Hour.” Based on Carter Sickels’ 2012 novel, this second narrative feature from director Braden King is more plot-driven than his first, 2011’s “Here,” a leisurely and slight, if pleasant, road-trip romance. Indeed, there may be a little more content [...]

  • Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Zainab Jah,

    'Farewell Amor': Film Review

    There are small, telling differences in the way each of the three long-separated main characters in “Farewell Amor” remembers the day of their reunion. Standing at JFK, awkwardly clutching a bunch of flowers to give to the wife and child he has not seen in 17 years, Walter (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine from “The Chi”), [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content