After years of “runaway production” where movies set in Los Angeles were actually filmed far away because other states and countries offered better tax breaks for filming, it’s great to see that trend reversing with many blockbusters now coming back home.
California’s expanded tax credits program means an end to situations like Australia doubling for L.A., as it did in earthquake blockbuster “San Andreas,” and Oscar nominee “Trumbo” having to recreate iconic Hollywood locations in Louisiana.
Moviegoers will start noticing the shift next year when the returning films start hitting theaters, including the big screen version of classic California Highway Patrol TV series “ChiPs.” That film was originally due to be shot in Louisiana.
“We almost had to call it ‘LiPs,’” said writer-director and star Dax Shepard, whose movie only stayed in its natural home thanks to receiving the new state tax credits aimed at preventing runaway production.
“That meant we were able to embrace the local environment and showcase it. California is a key character in the movie and this film would have been very different without that tax credit,” added Shepard, speaking at the recent Film in California Conference in Studio City, which I reported on for the Los Angeles Business Journal.
The movie, which will be released by Warner Bros. in summer 2017, features motorcycle chases through Long Beach, Silver Lake, Pomona, downtown Los Angeles, and across local freeways.
“CHiPs” is on track to spend $24.4 million in California on expenses paid to “below-the-line” crew members, vendors, and equipment providers, making the film eligible to receive $5.2 million in tax credits under the state’s expanded incentive program.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the five-year Film and Television Tax Credit Program, which allocates $330 million in tax credits each year. The law is designed to stem the tide of film and TV projects moving out of state due to cheaper production costs.
But what it also ended up doing was providing even more fascinating filming locations to discuss and visit on my Movie Locations Tour. Now that’s a very good thing 🙂
By Sandro Monetti, Celebrity Insider Tour Director