As COVID-19 continues to complicate current filming ambitions, Hollywood is also busy mapping out its future production hopes. As part of those plans, nine new features are planning to shoot in California.
The California film commission has announced its latest round of film projects that have been selected to receive tax credits from the state’s incentives program. Among the four studio and five indie titles are Joe and Anthony Russo action-thriller Gray Man, Jessica Chastain drama Losing Clementine, Octavia Spencer sci-fi thriller Invasion and an untitled Jordan Peele movie, one of the two films announced as part of his first-look deal with Universal.
The slate of films — which also includes Universal’s untitled Phil Lord and Chris Miller horror-comedy, sports drama Sweetwater about the first African American player in the NBA and Dan Gilroy’s Faster, Cheaper, Better — are the first feature projects to qualify for tax credits since the program’s third iteration launched at the start of the new fiscal year on July 1. It’s unclear the projects are beginning production.
Gray Man, a big-budget Netflix movie starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, represents a major win for the state, which has long lost out on major studio features to other more incentives-friendly filming locales like Georgia and the U.K. The pic, which will be produced under the Russo Bros.’ AGBO production banner, is expected to bring in an estimated $102 million in below-the-line wages and other qualified expenditures, trailing behind only Captain Marvel in terms of spend within the state. Of course, overall in-state spending will be significantly more when above-the-line wages and other expenditures that do not qualify for incentives are factored in.
In total, the nine films are on track to generate a total of nearly $284 million in qualified in-state expenditures. They’re expected to employ an estimated 1,340 crew, 342 cast and 14,397 background actors and stand ins over a combined 374 filming days in California. And that doesn’t even include the post-production jobs and revenue they’ll bring in for in-state VFX artists, sound editors, sound mixers, musicians and other workers.
Three of the five independent projects (Losing Clementine, Nightfall and Sweetwater) were accepted into the program’s new $10 million-and-under qualified spending category, which reserves funds specifically for lower-budget independent films. And together six of the projects plan a significant amount of production outside the Los Angeles 30-mile studio zone, a key objective of the film incentives program. In fact, nearly 40 percent (142 out of 374) of the filming days planned by the projects will occur in counties outside Los Angeles, including Inyo, Kern, Mono, Riverside and San Bernardino.
“After announcing two relocating TV series earlier this month, our new tax credit program continues to get off to a great start with today’s list of film projects,” said California film commission executive director Colleen Bell. “Production activity is ramping back up in California amid COVID-19 with safety remaining a top priority, and Program 3.0 is attracting the kind of big budget films that will generate a considerable amount of jobs and in-state spending.”