Ava DuVernay’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Receives California Tax Credit

Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time” is one of the 28 projects selected to receive an $18.1 million credit as part of California’s expanded Film & Television Tax Credit Program.

The state film commission noted that “A Wrinkle in Time” — directed by Ava DuVernay and starring Oprah Winfrey — is the type of “tentpole” film previously ineligible under the state’s first-generation tax credit program, which did not accept projects with budgets greater than $75 million.

The tax credit program, aimed at putting the brakes on runaway production, offers tax credits of up to 25% of the production budget. The commission uses a formula based on jobs created to determine which films receive the credit.

“A Wrinkle in Time” received by far the largest credit — more than double the second-highest, which was Warner Bros.’ remake of “A Star Is Born,” with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, with $7.7 million. That was followed by Paramount’s “Home Invasion” with $7.3 million, Content Media’s “Entry Level” with $6.7 million, Paramount’s “Friday the 13th” with $5.6 million, Paramount’s “Action Park” with $5.2 million and a pair of New Line projects, “Tag” and “Private Benjamins,” with $5.2 million each.

Films must begin shooting within 180 days to remain eligible for the credit. In the case of “A Star Is Born,” the project was selected in February, but then dropped out and subsequently re-applied and was selected again.

It said that “A Wrinkle in Time” will bring $85 million in qualified spending to California. With nearly 400 cast and crew members employed, $44 million will be paid in wages to below-the-line workers.

“The California tax credit made it possible to base production in California,” said producer Jim Whitaker. “We considered several other locations, but felt that the spectacular landscapes and intimate, real settings found in California perfectly met Ava DuVernay’s directorial vision for ‘A Wrinkle in Time.’ The entire crew is incredibly excited as we all appreciate the ability to come home to our families at night.”

Disney plans to shoot much of the film outside the Los Angeles 30-Mile Zone.

“Large-scale feature films like ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ are among the most at-risk for runaway production,” said California Film Commission Executive Director Amy Lemisch. “California’s expanded tax credit program is working as intended, and this project alone will employ hundreds of in-state crew members.”

The first feature film application period drew 91 applications vying for $109 million in tax credits. A total of 28 projects — 18 from studios and 10 from independent production companies — were selected. These projects are on track to spend a total of $880 million in-state, including $326 million in qualified wages to more than 5,900 crew and cast members.

Other projects selected are “Friday the 13th,” “Magic Camp,” “Rogue,” and “Private Benajmins” — all of which will shoot extensively outside the Los Angeles 30-Mile Zone.

The tax credit was raised last year to $330 million annually from $100 million. Productions shot during the first quarter that received the credit included the James Franco-Bryan Cranston comedy “Why Him,” “Battle of the Sexes,” “Latin Lover,” and “Please Stand By.”

A FilmLA study released in June showed that California’s status as the top production center in the world remained intact last year as the state was the leading site for major feature films, with 19 of the top 109 projects.

The report showed that seven of the 16 projects were made in California thanks to the state’s tax credit program, including “Straight Outta Compton” with a $4.8 million tax credit on a $50 million budget; “Insidious: Chapter 3” with a $2.4 million credit on an $11 million budget; “Entourage” with a $5.8 million credit on a $39 million budget; “Freaks of Nature” with a $3.9 million credit on a $33 million budget; and “Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” with a $3 million credit on a $24 million budget.

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