California Tops List of Film Production Locations for Second Year in Row

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But the state's share of major film production fell from 21 percent in 2014 to 17 percent last year.

In 2015, for the second year in a row, California led the list of U.S. states and countries abroad where film production took place, but its share of major motion pictures fell from 21 percent in 2014 to 17 percent last year.

In a study announced Wednesday by FilmL.A. — which looked at 109 films released by the major U.S. film companies in 2015 — California, with 22 productions, faced competition from the U.K. with 15 projects, Georgia and Louisiana (with 12 projects each) and Canada (with 11). New York, which ranked second in the 2014 study, fell out of the top five production centers with seven projects. 

Of the California-based live-action films, 44 percent (seven out of 16 projects) were made in the state because of the current California Film & Television Tax Credit Program. They included such movies as Straight Outta Compton and Entourage. But big live-action movies chose to film elsewhere. The study found that the only films with budgets over $100 million that were produced primarily in California were animated movies.

In terms of production spending, the U.K., with 15 movies, actually led the list. Production spending in Britain amounted to a whopping $1.6 billion, overshadowing the $720 million spent in California.

Meanwhile, the U.K. and Canada usurped California's position as centers for visual effects work, the study noted. "This is a concern for California," it said, "because the biggest-budget features spend much of their production budgets on post and VFX."

Much of the filming that takes place on locations around Los Angeles is actually work on smaller, indie productions. The report noted that in 2015, the number of on-location shooting days, permitted by FilmL.A., amounted to 4,344, down 4.2 percent from 4,535 in 2014. "The vast majority of these projects are low-budget films," it said.

The report concluded: "With the arrival of the new and improved California Film & Television Tax Credit, California will see an increase in the number of big-budget tentpole projects, but it will take at least two years before such films are released theatrically and begin to register in future FilmL.A. Feature Films Studies."