The California Lottery isn’t the only lotto game in town. Nearly 500 projects applied last month to be considered for $100 million in state film tax credits. Of those applicants, there were but 26 winners--11 feature films, two made-for-TV movies and 13 television series.
While legislation is in the works which could expand the scope and number of productions that could tap into California’s incentives program, for now most of the applicants are on the outside looking in. This year’s 497 project applications represented a 30% increase over the entries tally in 2013.
Those qualifying for the incentives, though, have collectively yielded promising results. This is the sixth year the tax credits have been in effect, resulting in $5.39 billion in direct spending in California, including $1.7 billion in below-the-line wages, according to estimates from the California Film Commission (CFC), which administers the program. California offers tax credits of 20 to 25 percent toward qualified production expenditures such as the cost of set building, certain equipment and crew member salaries.
This year, the biggest tax credits awarded were to TV series: $11.5 million to Teen Wolf on MTV, $8.9 million to Rizzoli and Isles on TNT, and $8.4 million to Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family.
BET’s series Being Mary Jane, slated for its third year, garnered an estimated $5.2 million credit. This will enable the show to relocate its production headquarters from Atlanta to Los Angeles. T
Among the other TV series selected for California’s incentives this time around were: Sony Pictures Television’s Franklin & Bash, a show on TNT; Warner Bros. Television’s Major Crimes, also on TNT; Sony Pictures TV’s Justified, an FX show; FTP Productions’ Perception, another TNT program; and Turner North Center Productions’ Murder In The First on TNT.
Planned feature films included a Scarface reboot from Universal Pictures, and All Summer Long--A Beach Boys Musical from 20th Century Fox.
The 26 projects selected are expected to generate $802 million in direct spending in California, including $230 million in wages for below-the-line crew members. “California’s tax credit program has proven to be our most effective economic development tool for retaining and attracting production jobs, spending and tax revenues,” stated Amy Lemisch, executive director of the CFC.