Hollywood Powers Canadian Film and TV Shooting to Record High

10:05 AM PST 02/01/2012 by Etan Vlessing

Rebounding foreign location shoots in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal by Los Angeles producers pushed production levels in Canada to an all-time best of $5.49 billion last year.

TORONTO – Canadian film and TV production volume hit a record high last year, thanks to Hollywood.

Rebounding foreign location shooting pushed Ontario for the first time past the $2 billion production expenditure level, the Profile 2011: An Economic Report on the Screen-Based Production Industry in Canada report revealed Wednesday.

In all, the Canadian film and TV industry, dubbed Hollywood North by local players, saw overall production levels rise 8.9% to a new record of $5.49 billion last year.

Foreign location and service production – where Canadians make foreign films and TV shows on a fee-for-work basis – in 2011 rose 24.3% to $1.87 billion in production volume.

Ontario, which two years ago introduced a 25% all-spend tax credit to lure Los Angeles producers, last year saw total volume of production rise 6.3% to $2.06 billion.

The eastern province unseated British Columbia as Canada’s top production center, and the third largest in North America, on the strength of Toronto shoots like Columbia Pictures’ $200 million Total Recall remake.

British Columbia saw total production volume last year jump 20.8% to $1.71 billion, with the biggest boost coming from foreign location shoots, including U.S. network TV series like Alcatraz, Fringe and Fairly Legal.

And Quebec shared in the increased Hollywood patronage as production volume rose 5.5% to $1.33 billion last year.

Hollywood studios may be shooting fewer movies on lower budgets these days, but the Canadian production data reveals foreign location shooting in Canada is on an upswing, thanks to generous tax credits and other lucrative incentives.

Countrywide, foreign, mostly Hollywood producers last year shoot in all 66 theatrical movies north of the border, 76 TV series and 81 TV movies, mini-series and pilots.

The 2011 industry Profile report, issued by the Canadian Media Production Association, also revealed domestic Canadian TV production was up slightly last year, while homegrown film production was down sharply.

After rising in 2010 to $2.42 billion, total production volume for Canadian indie film and TV last year fell 1.4% to $2.39 billion.

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