American TV Series Drive Ontario Production Activity in 2012

Hannibal New TV Still - P 2013

Hannibal New TV Still - P 2013

Despite a high Canadian dollar, a 25 percent all-spend film tax credit had U.S. TV series such as "Hannibal" and "Defiance" shooting on location in Toronto.

TORONTO -- Ontario in 2012 racked up another record for film and TV production activity, helped by rebounding foreign location shooting, especially on the U.S. TV series front.

The Ontario Media Development Corp., which markets the province in Hollywood, reported that total production expenditures reached $1.28 billion last year, up from the previous record of $1.26 billion in production activity in 2011.

The $404.5 million in foreign film and TV production expenditures for 2012 was slightly down on the year-earlier $412.9 million in budgets spent locally.

Hollywood movie production expenditures of $106.3 million last year was well down on the $231.6 million spent in 2011, when Columbia Pictures’ Total Recall remake and Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim for Legendary Pictures set up at Pinewood Toronto Studios.

But the lack of tentpole pictures shooting in Toronto was offset by U.S. TV series production in 2012, which jumped to $270.6 million against a year-earlier $150.2 million.

Foreign TV series shot in Ontario last year included NBCUniversal’s Defiance, Netflix’s Hemlock Grove and Gaumont International’s Hannibal.

The 2012 foreign production levels in Toronto were still down from the go-go early 2000s, when producers, mostly from Hollywood, registered $574.4 million worth of production in 2002 alone.

Ontario, helped by a 25 percent all-spend film tax credit, is also going gangbusters in indigenous film and TV production, which hit $871.9 million in total production expenditures in 2012. That compared with $852.1 million in production expenditures in the previous year.

Local TV series that shot in Toronto before ending up on U.S. and other foreign schedules included Beauty and the Beast, Bomb Girls, Degrassi, Lost Girl and Rookie Blue.