Boosted by a surge in feature film activity, total on-location filming in greater Los Angeles increased an impressive 2.4% in the first quarter to 9,724 shoot days, permitting agency FilmL.A. reported Wednesday.
Feature film production jumped 11.7% to 814 days — its first double-digit gain since 2015. FilmL.A. President Paul Audley pointed to the state’s expanded tax credit program, which can cover up to 25% of a film’s budget.
“It is exciting to see increases in high job producing categories in film and television production,” Audley said. “The California Tax Credit program is sustaining the industry in our region and demonstrates how critical it is for a continuation of the program.”
Incentivized projects, including “Bird Box,” “Peppermint,” “The Devil Has a Name,” “Destroyer” and “Captain Marvel” contributed 20% or 161 of the shoot days in the feature category.
“Captain Marvel” was one of seven films with budgets over $100 million that have been covered by the expanded program. It’s the first Marvel project to film in California since “Captain America: Winter Soldier” in 2014.
Overall television activity slid 7.4% to 3,623 days despite gains in pilots, which saw a 22% hike to 272 days, and dramas, which increased 4.4% to 1,044 days. Decreases were seen in TV comedy (down 13% to 529 days), TV reality (down 20.7% to 922) and web-based TV (down 28.7% to 362). Overall television production is tracking 0.4% ahead of its 5-year average.
Incentivized TV drama projects contributed 50.3% of the days in the category in the first quarter. Incentivized TV pilot projects contributed 24% and incentivized comedies accounted for 17%.
Audley noted that another recent FilmL.A. report showed that L.A.-based sitcoms have been trending away from using locations and more towards soundstages.
“It’s become very clear that incentives have become very much a part of the production network in Los Angeles,” he added. “We have been improvements in features and TV so far this year.”
On-location commercials production rose 10% in the first quarter to 1,633 days and the category is tracking 10% above its five-year average.
“This report confirms what below-the-line-workers across Los Angeles are already experiencing – film and television production is booming,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “Each new production means more good-paying jobs and a healthier economy for everyone. L.A. is the creative capital of the world, and we’re going to keep it that way.”
The California Film Commission announced April 9 that it had selected two relatively big-budget films — “Ford v. Ferrari” and “Coming 2 America” — as recipients of the production tax credit along with seven other projects for a total of $55 million in incentives.
The commission also announced on March 19 that the Amazon series “Sneaky Pete” was relocating production for its third season from New York to California, and has been approved conditionally to receive a $9.2 million tax credit from the Golden State.
The relocation makes “Sneaky Pete” the 13th TV series to relocate to California under its three-year-old expanded tax credit program, aimed at halting the erosion of California-based production to states with bigger incentives, such as Georgia and New York. The state’s annual allocation rose in 2015-16 from $100 million to $330 million, and applications are ranked on how many jobs they will produce, rather than being selected by lottery.