And the Award for Most Movie, TV Production Goes to ...
The industry that was once dominated by Los Angeles and New York has changed to see other cities and even other countries -- we're talking about you, Vancouver -- become major players. Incentives have changed the economic impact for some states, with six recording more than $1 billion in movie and television-related wages in 2012-13. (Illinois, which just hit $1 billion, is not profiled.)
California's $18.2 billion in wages came largely from Hollywood, where the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this weekend is giving out the Oscars for achievement in the movies. In 2012-13, California was the setting for 318 films and 347 TV series, according to the MPAA. Those productions created 186,853 direct jobs and 129,789 production-related jobs.
Despite its iconic status and constant production, California continues to lose ground to other states and countries due to lagging incentives and high costs. Currently, the state offers a 20 percent or 25 percent income and/or sales and use credit for qualified expenses. As Variety explains, "That's significantly smaller than programs offered by other states such as New York, which offers $420 million a year in credits for 30 percent of production costs." Though the decline continues, California was still home to many fan favorites, such as "Iron Man 3," "The Big Bang Theory" and "Mad Men."
2. New York
New York City dominates the state's production, but upstate New York is home to many independent films like David Cross' recent "Hits." Wages for productions in New York totaled $9.98 billion in 2012-13, covering 94,819 direct jobs and just over 56,000 production jobs. Notable productions include "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" as well as television shows "Saturday Night Live" and "Broad City."
America's movie industry began in New York City and its suburbs, but within a few decades Hollywood took over. In 1966, then-Mayor Joseph V. Lindsey made good on a promise to lessen bureaucratic red tape, and filming began to flow into the city. "Each additional feature film or commercial television show means additional jobs for New York residents," he wrote. "Additional jobs mean a healthier economy. And a healthier economy means a healthier city." Since then, the city has become a leader in the industry by heavily promoting productions made there and launching the first mayoral office of film, theater and broadcasting.
Georgia is a booming with productions, including "The Walking Dead" and the upcoming "Ant-Man" movie starring Paul Rudd. "I really love it here," Rudd told AJC.com about filming in the Hollywood of the South. "I'd rather shoot in Atlanta than in LA." Such desires added up to $1.6 billion in wages for nearly 32,000 jobs during 2012-13.
Incentives largely drive production to the Deep South -- with Georgia offering a 20 percent credit for all in-state production costs of $500,000 or more. Productions can also receive an additional 10 percent credit for including the Georgia production logo in the opening or closing credits.
In 2012-13, productions in Texas funded nearly 46,000 jobs, paying $1.56 billion. With big-budget productions ("Transformers: Age of Existence"), reboots ("Dallas") and indie darlings ("Chef") all producing in state, the industry continues seeing benefits in Texas and its 5 percent to 17.5 percent rebate repayment to every production (with a $2 million cap).
Despite calling itself "the third coast of filmmaking" since the '70s, Texas is losing production to neighboring Louisiana and its enticing investor tax credits that includes up to 35 percent transferable tax credits with no cap. "Texas has a very fair and generous incentive program, but it just can't compete," explains James M. Johnston, who moved his Texas-set film "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" to Louisiana. He told Texas Monthly, "In Louisiana, if you spend the money, there are a few hoops you have to jump through, but you get 30 percent back."
Florida's productions involved over 36,000 jobs that paid $1.5 billion overall. Productions like "Burn Notice," "The Real Housewives of Miami" and the upcoming "Tomorrowland" are just as varied as the state's multi-faceted incentives.
Florida saw a boom in productions over the last decade. The state credits a wealth of TV and film professionals and its production infrastructure, which includes studios, editing and rental houses -- including Univision, America's leading Spanish language. The state has a five-year plan to expand production by 2018.