Hollywood Location Shooting Surges in Toronto
Foreign film and TV production in Ontario rose over 50 percent in 2015 as 'Suicide Squad,' 'Spotlight' and 'Room' shot locally.
Hollywood film and TV production is going gangbusters in Toronto.
Foreign film and TV location shooting in Ontario jumped 52 percent to CAN$763 million (US$576.5 million) in 2015, compared to a year-earlier CAN$503 million, provincial government figures released Tuesday revealed.
Ontario, Canada's biggest production hub, hit a record CAN$1.52 billion (US$1.15 billion) in overall production expenditures last year, as foreign, mostly Hollywood budgetary spending rose across-the-board. Foreign movie production expenditures leapt 50 percent to CAN$209.1 million (US$158 million) in 2015 from 28 projects.
Hollywood location shooting in Toronto included Warner Bros. tentpole Suicide Squad and the Oscar winners Spotlight and Room. Movie producers spent CAN$139.3 million on 15 movies shot locally in 2014, the Ontario ministry of culture, tourism and sport reported.
The Canadian dollar collapsing in value last year against the American greenback suddenly had U.S. producers eyeing Vancouver and Toronto as options for shooting outside Los Angeles, against perennial locales like Atlanta and Louisiana. Spending on foreign TV series production in Ontario leapt 46 percent to CAN$465.7 million (US$352 million), against a year-earlier CAN$319.3 million.
Toronto soundstages and streets last year filled with shoots for such popular series as Suits, Beauty and the Beast, 12 Monkeys, Dark Matter, Heroes Reborn and The Strain. And spending on foreign TV movies, miniseries and pilots grew 96 percent to CAN$88.2 million (US$66.6 million), compared to CAN$45.1 million in 2014.
Besides currency savings, U.S. producers also tapped Ontario tax credits and local on-set talent as they set up film and TV shoots here. Current production activity points to another possible record year in 2016.
Ontario has 27 productions prepping or shooting, including the Paramount tentpole feature xXx 3: The Return of Xander Cage and Alexander Payne’s Downsizing. New TV series shooting in Toronto include American Gods from Fremantle for Starz Network and American Gothic from CBS/Amblin Entertainment.