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Los Angeles On-Location Feature Filming Surges 12.2% in 2018

On-location feature filming in Greater Los Angeles expanded impressively in 2018, gaining 12.2% to 4,377 shooting days, according to FilmL.A.

Production activity for feature films rose 15.5% to 1,078 shooting days during the fourth quarter, with 146 days coming from projects receiving California tax credits — including Netflix’s “Bird Box,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” starring Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio; and McG’s sci-fi invasion tale “Rim of the World.”

Total on-location production in Los Angeles gained 1.3% for 2018 to 38,795 shooting days, despite a 4.9% decline in television shooting to 14,466 days. The key TV drama category rose 10.6% to 4,848 days in 2018 while comedies slid 16% to 1,810 days and reality declined 9.2% to 3,980 days. Commercial shooting for 2018 increased 8.7% to 6,033 days.

Incentivized TV drama projects accounted for 282 of the 1,489 shooting days recorded in that category for the fourth quarter, including “Euphoria,” “Good Girls,” “Legion,” and “Lucifer.”

“2018 concluded a third consecutive year of record-level film and television production for greater Los Angeles, due in no small part to the California Film & TV Tax Credit program,” said FilmL.A. president Paul Audley. “The return of jobs and businesses in the film industry is great news for our region and we look forward to a great 2019.”

In July, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed an extension of California’s production tax credit program for five years beyond its 2020 expiration with $1.6 billion in credits. The initiative more than tripled in size in 2014 to $330 million annually to compete effectively with incentives in New York and Georgia. The program is overseen by the state’s film commission, which selects TV shows and movies partly based on the number of jobs created.

Feature films covered under the program include Disney’s upcoming “Captain Marvel,” Paramount’s “Transformers” spinoff “Bumblebee,” and Warner Bros.’ “Space Jam 2,” starring LeBron James. Since the expansion, the initiative has helped to relocate a total of 15 series to California, including Amazon’s “Sneaky Pete,” FX’s “Legion,” and HBO’s “Ballers.”

The commission reported on Nov. 2 that California’s expanded production tax incentive program has resulted in nearly $6 billion in in-state spending over the past three years, generated from $815 million in tax credits. California’s credit covers up to 25% of in-state production costs, which is not as lucrative as other locations, but is aimed at putting the brakes on runaway production and luring projects to the Golden State.


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