On Location: Michigan gets ‘Oz’ wish as uncertainty looms over film tax credit program


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Michigan isn’t exactly Kansas, but anything is possible in the world of ‘Oz’ -- and film tax credits. Walt Disney Studios confirmed Friday that its upcoming film “Oz” -- a prequel to the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz” -- will be filmed in Michigan after all.

The movie, directed by Sam Raimi, has a production budget of more than $150 million and would be the largest feature film to ever shoot in Michigan.


The project’s fate had been uncertain after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder recently proposed a big cut in the state’s film tax credit program to balance the budget. Snyder called for capping the program at $25 million a year.

Currently Michigan has no such cap and allocates about $100 million annually in tax credits, making it one of the most popular film programs in the country.

Burbank-based Disney decided to proceed with the film after receiving assurances from state officials that its previously approved $40-million tax credit would not be affected.

That was welcome news to Los Angeles-based Raleigh Studios, which has just opened a $76-million studio in Pontiac, Mich., where “Oz” will begin filming in August. The production will fill up most of the studio’s seven stages.

“This definitely makes us rest a little easier,” said Mike Newport, vice president of marketing for Raleigh Studios. “Now the only question is what the tax credit will end up being moving forward.”



Michigan governor proposes slashing film tax credits

Michigan to Hollywood: ‘Get off my lawn’

-- Richard Verrier