When director Marc Webb spoke to the big crowd at the premiere of
Instead, he gave thanks — to New York.
"We shot this all in New York, which is a great place to shoot a movie," Webb told onlookers, including delegates from the
Tinsel Town is being upstaged by the Big Apple — in film location shoots, in TV shows and even in glitzy premieres like the one for "Spider-Man." The
What's happening on the red carpet mirrors what's happening on film sets and TV soundstages. New York had a record number of film and TV projects last year and is on track to do the same in 2014, state officials say. Credit goes to generous financial incentives, experienced crews that rival Hollywood's best and friendly (some might say star-struck) politicians.
"There was a period of time when we lost our edge," said Kenneth Adams, chief executive of Empire State Development, the state's main economic development agency. "We've regrouped and come back stronger than ever."
The shift in television production is especially dramatic, and was underscored by
This summer New York City will debut its biggest-ever TV production, a $200-million, 60-episode television series for
By comparison, Los Angeles has seen a sharp decline in its share of TV production, especially for one-hour dramas. During last year's pilot season, Los Angeles captured only 22% of all TV pilots for dramas, down from 63% in 2007, according to a study by FilmL.A. Inc.
Entertainment industry experts point to New York's incentives as the biggest reason for the state's growing film and TV production business.
The state of New York provides up to $420 million annually in rebates to the film industry — four times what California spends. New York's credit also covers big-budget movies and new network TV dramas that are specifically excluded from California's program.
"They are building on their innate strengths and really flourishing," said Assemblyman
Supporters of the bill have cited New York's success as a reason to bolster California's film program.
Last week, however, the California Legislative Analyst's Office said the program's fiscal benefits had been exaggerated and warned that expanding funding could lead to a "race to the bottom" competition among states for Hollywood's business.
"If the Legislature wishes to continue to expand the film tax credit, we suggest that it do so cautiously," the report said. "Responding to other jurisdictions' subsidies could be very expensive."
That language could be seen as lending credence to something filmmakers have been saying for a few years now: that New York is a more welcoming environment.
"They've made it really attractive, the way L.A. used to be," said Webb, whose movie was a bonanza for New York with a $200-million-plus production budget that employed 3,900 cast and crew members and 5,223 extras.
Much of the credit for revitalizing New York's entertainment industry goes to former
To make the city film-friendly, it provided free police assistance to crews and discounts to filmmakers using local vendors, and worked with a
All the activity has resulted in some grumbling from notoriously impatient New Yorkers who are increasingly forced to share streets and sidewalks with film crews. The mayor's film office has seen its ranks thinned in the past few years as a result of budget cuts, and the city has a new film commissioner since Bloomberg left office.
Even so, indications are that new Mayor
"This industry is in the DNA of this city," De Blasio said at a news conference announcing his film chief, Cynthia Lopez. "It's part of who we are. It's part of what makes us great."
The film industry also has friends in Albany, which authorizes the tax credits.
"The Empire State is home to the best talent, crews, locations and other resources needed to support productions and post-production of any and all sizes," Gov.
"I applaud New York," Garcetti said. "They've had forward-looking policymakers at the state level that have really made a difference. It's time for California to do the same.... Entertainment is who we are and I intend to compete and win."
No decision has been announced, but few insiders think the "Late Show" is heading west.
Although most production still centers in L.A., its dominance is slipping. New York's entertainment sector was the fastest growing in the country over the last decade, according to a report by the Milken Institute. Between 2004 and 2012, New York saw its entertainment sector expand by 10,675 jobs — a 25% increase.
During the same period, California lost 16,137 film and TV industry jobs, an 11% decline, the report found.
"If L.A. wants to stay the center for entertainment, we need to look at what New York is doing," said Kevin Klowden, a managing economist at Milken.
For many years, New York was considered too expensive and logistically difficult to serve as a film location. That's one reason L.A. has hosted so many quintessentially New York shows, including
A pivotal moment for New York came in 2003, when producers of a
Tired of being played by others, New York decided to fight back. The state initially offered a modest 10% rebate, then expanded to 30% in 2008. The plan allows filmmakers to get back 30 cents for every dollar they spend in the state on qualified production costs, such as salaries for crew and set construction.
New York's legislature increased funding to the current level in 2010, making it the most generous in the country. Cuomo approved another five-year extension through 2019. The state also lured more high-wage visual-effects work after it expanded its post-production credit to a maximum of 35% for companies in upstate New York.
The incentives helped create a windfall of new production. Last year, the state tax credit program drew a record 181 film and TV projects representing an estimated $2.1 billion in spending, up from just 18 projects and about $600,000 in spending a decade earlier.
These days, the spirit of production hovers over the city. Trailers, catering stations and walkie-talkie-equipped production assistants are a common sight on its streets. Subway ads include the "Made in NY" campaign that promotes local television and film production in the city.
Several new soundstages are sprouting across the state. In Staten Island, plans are underway to convert a former state prison into a 100,000-square-foot production complex in the next two years.
And at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, Steiner Studios has constructed 10 soundstages in the last decade. The 26-acre complex, which is home to
"The volume of business being done in New York is at an all-time peak," said Doug Steiner, the studios' chairman.
Times Staff Writer Joe Flint contributed to this report.