Hollywood Heads Back North as Canadian Dollar Falls

Man of Steel Promos - P 2013
Warner Bros.

Man of Steel Promos - P 2013

The foreign location rebound comes as the American greenback recovers in value against the Loonie.

TORONTO -- Foreign location production in Canada, mostly by U.S. producers, rebounded last year.

The total budget spending in Canada by Hollywood studios in the year to March 31, 2013, rose 3 percent to CA$1.74 billion ($1.56 billion), compared to CA$1.68 billion ($150.5 million) a year earlier, according to the Canadian Media Production Association's Profile 2013 survey.

Hollywood's rising film and TV production in Canada was spurred by the American dollar's initial value recovery last year, in comparison to the Canadian dollar, as well as generous tax credits in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. TV series such as The CW's Supernatural, BBC America's Copper and Netflix's Hemlock Grove and features Man of Steel and Pompeii were all shot north of the States.

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In early 2013, the American and Canadian dollars remained virtually at par, before the Loonie began to weaken in value against the greenback to its current value -- around 90 cents.

British Columbia remains the sweet spot for foreign location shooting in Canada, with total expenditures last year amounting to CA$1.07 billion ($960 million), just off CA$1.1 billion ($990 million) in production activity by mostly U.S. producers in 2012. U.S. location shooting last year in Vancouver came mostly from U.S. series like Fringe, Psych and Once Upon a Time.

Ontario was in second place with CA$399 million ($358 million) in foreign production activity in the year to March 31, 2013, the last period surveyed by the CMPA report, up from CA$382 million ($343 million) in 2012. U.S. series shot in Toronto included USA's Covert Affairs and The CW's Beauty and the Beast.

Foreign location shooting is still not back to a cyclical high of CA$1.87 billion ($1.68 billion) in 2011, even as Canada's tax credit regime has encouraged Hollywood to head north in the face of competition from rival locales like Louisiana and New Mexico.