Report: Hollywood Production in Canada Continues Modest Climb Back

Despite strong Canadian dollar, British Columbia got a boost last year from a slew of high-profile Hollywood movies shooting locally.

TORONTO -- With Hollywood production in Canada rebounding, on-location production north of the border rose a modest 1% to $4.9 billion.

The latest production figures from the Canadian Media Production Association, representing major indie producers, indicates foreign location and service production reached $1.51 billion in 2010, up 4% from year-earlier levels, but still well down from a peak for Hollywood North of $1.91 billion in 2003.

Local Canadian production reached $2.29 billion last year, up 1% from $2.27 billion in 2009.

Last year’s modest recovery in foreign location shooting and service production came despite a surging Canadian dollar, compared to the American greenback, and stiff competition from rival locales south of the border with lucrative tax credits increasingly on offer to Los Angeles producers.

The recovery was also mostly concentrated in and around Vancouver, where yo-yoing Hollywood movie production activity reached $485 million spent locally in 2010, up from a trough of $248 million in 2009, but still down from $662 million for Hollywood feature film budgets dropped locally in 2008.

Recent Hollywood credits for British Columbia include the Twilight Saga: New Moon and The A-Team, and network TV series like Smallville, Psych and Eureka.

The high water mark for Hollywood production in Canada was 2003 when total budgetary spending by Los Angeles producers reached $1.91 billion.

The CMPA report indicates foreign location shooting in Ontario was up modestly last year, but remains in the doldrums in Quebec. To remain competitive with rival jurisdictions, Canadian provinces have boosted their tax incentives for foreign and local producers, with Ontario and Quebec introducing all-spend tax credits.

“So long as the high Canadian dollar is here to stay, in order to stay competitive in future years, Canada must continue to ensure that its tax credits are competitive, its crews are highly trained and its production facilities are state-of-the-art,” the CMPA report argued.

“Attention to all three aspects of attracting foreign location and service production should help stabilize and build foreign location and service production volume in future years,” the report concluded.