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TORONTO – A sinking Canadian dollar is helping lift resurgent Hollywood production in Toronto.
The Canadian dollar on Monday falling below 95 cents compared to the American greenback, after recently being near-parity, comes as the USA Network’s Horizon, a period sci-fi drama pilot from The Walking Dead’s Gale Anne Hurd and Burn Notice’s Bridget Tyler, looks set to shoot here.
And, after a quiet spring 2013 had Hollywood production down in Toronto during the period by 25 percent year-on-year, Gil Kenan’s Poltergeist remake from Ghost House Pictures and co-financiers and distributors MGM and Fox 2000 has booked into Pinewood Toronto Studios for a fall 2013 shoot.
Yves Simoneau (The 4400) will direct the pilot shoot for Horizon at the Revival 629 studio on Eastern Avenue, where another un-named NBCUniversal pilot is also starting to shoot this week.
Hurd’s Vahalla Entertainment earlier produced The Incredible Hulk at the same film studio complex in downtown Toronto.
They join a host of other shot-in-Toronto series like BBC America’s Copper, Syfy’s Lost Girl, and CW’s Reign.
“TV series do seem to be coming our way. We’re please with that,” Ken Ferguson, managing director of Revival 629, said as he projects strong location shooting here by American TV series through to the end of the year.
Hosting U.S. pilot shoots is a low-margin business for Toronto soundstages and production equipment suppliers, but is done with an eye to a more lucrative full series order from the American broadcaster being shot here.
And a sinking gold price driving the Canadian loonie against the U.S. dollar’s rise also has Hollywood feature shoots more likely to skip across the border for additional savings beyond Ontario’s 25 per cent all-spend film tax credit.
“Once it (loonie’s fall) gets to 5%, then if you do the math, with Ontario’s tax credit at 25 percent, you’re adding 5 percent to a $100 million budget,” said Paul Bronfman, chairman of Pinewood Toronto Studios.
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