The credit for “Gray Man,” with Joe and Anthony Russo directing, was by far the largest amount unveiled Monday among the $50 million in conditional allocations for nine film projects. That list includes $8.4 million for an untitled Jordan Peele project, $2.5 million for the Octavia Spencer sci-fi thriller “Invasion,” $2.3 million for the Jessica Chastain drama “Losing Clementine,” and $1.4 million for the sports drama “Sweetwater” about the first African American player in the NBA.
“Gray Man,” announced last month, is based on a series of best-sellers from Mark Greaney. Gosling will portray an ex-CIA operative who becomes a killer for hire and is pursued by a former colleague, played by Evans. Joe and Anthony Russo are directing and producing through their Agbo company.
The commission said “Gray Man” will bring an estimated $102 million in below-the-line wages and other qualified expenditures to the state, behind only “Captain Marvel” on the list of big-budget tax credit film projects. “Captain Marvel,” starring Brie Larson, was allocated a $20.8 million tax credit in 2017. Other big-budget films that have received California tax credits include “Bumblebee,” “Captain America,” “Ford v. Ferrari” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
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The commission’s announcement comes two weeks after it announced that HBO’s “In Treatment” and TBS’s “Miracle Workers” would each receive $5 million in tax credits for relocating to California. The shows bring the number of TV series that have relocated to California during the past five years under the state’s tax credit program to 20, including “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels,” “Good Girls,” “You,” “Sneaky Pete,” “Legion,” “Ballers” and “Veep.”
In 2015, the size of the California program was tripled to $330 million annually to compete effectively with New York and Georgia with a credit of up to 25% of qualified expenditures spent in California and selection based on a job creation formula. The five-year extension of the program, dubbed California’s Film & TV Tax Credit Program 3.0, launched on July 1 with several new provisions, including a pilot skills training program to help individuals from underserved communities and enhanced reporting of above and below-the-line cast and crew employment diversity data.
“After announcing two relocating TV series earlier this month, our new tax credit program continues to get off to a great start with today’s list of film projects,” said California Film Commission executive director Colleen Bell. “Production activity is ramping back up in California amid COVID-19, and Program 3.0 is attracting the kind of big budget films that generate a considerable amount of jobs and in-state spending.”
The commission said the nine film projects (five independent, four non-independent) will generate $284 million in qualified in-state expenditures, employ an estimated 1,340 crew, 342 cast and 14,397 background actors/stand-ins over a combined 374 filming days in California. “Losing Clementine,” “Nightfall” and “Sweetwater” were accepted into Program 3.0’s new $10 million-and-under qualified spending category, which reserves funds specifically for lower-budget independent films.
“We are thrilled to be part of the new Program 3.0 and to be able to base ‘Losing Clementine’ production in California,” said Renée Tab, the film’s producer. “We searched other locations, but thanks to the tax credit we can film here at home where the story is set.”
“Losing Clementine” and five other projects plan a significant amount of production outside the Los Angeles 30-mile studio zone with nearly 40% of the filming days in Inyo, Kern, Mono, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, as well as other out-of-zone locations yet to be determined.
Other projects on the list: an untitled Jimmy Warden project with $7.9 million for Universal City Studios; “Faster, Cheaper, Better” with $2.5 million for Dease Pictures; and “Untitled DOR” with $2.5 million for New Regency Productions.
A total of 81 projects applied during the July 13-15 application period for Program 3.0’s inaugural round of feature film tax credits. The final application period this fiscal year for feature film tax credits will be held Jan. 25-27, 2021. The next application period for TV projects will be held on Sept. 28-30 (for relocating projects) and Oct. 5-7 (for recurring projects).