"Captain Marvel," the upcoming superhero movie starring Brie Larson as the title character, will receive more than $20 million in tax credits to film in California, making it the first Marvel Comics movie to shoot primarily in-state since 2014's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."
Eight studio and independent features were selected from 92 applications for the $68 million handed out in the latest round of tax incentives that are designed to attract more big-budget movie shoots to California. They include "Midway," a World War II film directed by Roland Emmerich, and "Cheney," a biopic of former Vice President Dick Cheney, starring Christian Bale.
A Paramount production with the working title "Island Plaza" has been allocated the most in tax incentives for this round at $21.5 million. The studio recently qualified for tax incentives on "Bumblebee," the upcoming "Transformers" spinoff movie that is set to receive a record $22.4 million in credits.
"Captain Marvel" is expected to receive $20.8 million in credits. "Midway" has been allocated $13.9 million. "Bird Box," a Netflix movie starring Sandra Bullock, will receive an estimated $2.5 million in credits.
"Cheney," which is being backed by Megan Ellison's Annapurna, also has been allocated $2.5 million.
The exact amount that each project receives can vary depending on how much it ultimately spends. The tax credits apply only to below-the-line expenditures, such as equipment and crew. They don't include the salaries of major stars and directors.
Past installments in the Marvel movie universe to film in California include "Thor" in 2011 and "Iron Man" in 2008. But most Marvel films now shoot in Georgia and Great Britain.
"Our headquarters and postproduction facilities are in California, so it's very exciting to be able to film 'Captain Marvel' here in our home state," Marvel Studios Co-President Louis D'Esposito said in a statement. Marvel Studios is a division of the Walt Disney Co.
"Captain Marvel" is scheduled to be released in cinemas in 2019. The movie is expected to shoot primarily in the Los Angeles area. "Midway" will film in Alameda County to take advantage of the Bay Area's natural locations.
California's expanded tax program went into effect two years ago and features funds specially earmarked for big-budget movies. In the previous version of the state's program, movies with production budgets above $75 million were ineligible for tax credits.
Under the program, major movies can receive up to a 20% tax credit for the first $100 million in a title's qualified expenditures. Movies that shoot outside the L.A. area are eligible to receive additional credits.
The program is intended to spur local economies by bringing back film and TV shoots from states like Georgia and Louisiana that provide generous tax incentives.
"The big-budget features have a very large spending footprint. They all use thousands of vendors for one production and hundreds of crew members," said Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission, which oversees the allocation of the incentives.
Other titles in the new round of California credits include "The Happytime Murders," a comedy from STX starring Melissa McCarthy, and "Peppermint," an action movie from Lakeshore Entertainment.
A live musical broadcast of "A Christmas Story" on Fox also qualified during the round. The TV movie is scheduled to air in December.