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Los Angeles Production Slides 3.1% in First Quarter

A sharp decline in feature film activity pulled down overall on-location production in Los Angeles during the first quarter by 3.1% to 8,707 shooting days, according to FilmL.A.

Tuesday’s report came with the state of California transitioning in coming months to a tax credit program that’s been more than tripled in size to $330 million in annual allocations.

Regional feature production in Los Angeles decreased 15.4% in the first quarter to 926 days — 168 days fewer than the first quarter of 2014. Movies that received California state tax credits generated 42 days of shooting, including “Drive, She Said,” “Message From the King,” “Scouts vs. Zombies” and “The Perfect Guy.”

TV activity edged up 1.7% for the quarter to 3,312 days as the TV drama category surged 29.7% to 1,058 days and reality jumpd 19.8%  to 1,245 days, offsetting losses for TV pilots (down 19.4% to 257), TV sitcoms (down 14.8% to 304) and Web-based TV (down 12.2% to 202). Shows covered by the state incentive generated 142 days, including “Hit the Floor,” “Justified,” “Murder in the First,” “Stitchers” and “Teen Wolf.”

“We are grateful for the increased production, especially in television, associated with the current tax credit,” said FilmL.A. president Paul Audley. “We remain hopeful that the region will also see gains in the feature category once the new credit adopted in AB 1839 takes effect in a few months.”

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Commercial production increased 6.2% during the quarter to 1,435 days including spots for Best Buy, Bose, Honda, TJ Maxx, Samsung and Yelp. Other categories, including student films and musicvideos, declined 7.5% to 3,034 days.

Shooting in California is likely to jump later this year in anticipation of the state increasing the annual allocation, starting with fiscal year 2015-16 and lasting for five years. It will expand the eligibility to include big-budget feature films and new one-hour drama series, categories of production that have migrated away from the state.

California Film Commission director Amy Lemisch disclosed last month that $90 million of the first $100 million for the 2015-16 fiscal year will go to continuing the allocations for TV series that are returning for another season. More than $77 million of the $100 million available for 2014-15 was allocated to a dozen returning series, led by $11.5 million for “Teen Wolf.” The expanded program has $230 million in credits left for the 2015-16 fiscal year. The new law ditches the lottery system and sets percentages — 40% for new dramas, movies of the week, miniseries and recurring TV series; 35% to features; 20% to relocating TV series and 5% for independent features.The commission will replace the lottery with a new jobs ratio program in May. The application period for $55 million in TV projects and $28 million in relocating TV series will be May 11-17, while the application for features films is July 13-25.

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