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Ryan Gosling movie among 9 films lured by state tax credits

Chris Evans, left, and Ryan Gosling will star in the Netflix movie "Gray Man."
Chris Evans, left, and Ryan Gosling will star in the Netflix movie “Gray Man,” which has been reserved a state film tax credit.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times; Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

California’s $330-million tax credit program, recently renewed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, has agreed to support nine new movies that will be filmed in the state.

The biggest award will be a $20-million tax break for the Netflix movie “Gray Man,” starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, according to new data from the California Film Commission.

Universal Pictures is in line to receive $16 million in tax credits for two untitled films, including one made by Jordan Peele. Amazon Studios also got approval for a $2.5-million credit for an Octavia Spencer movie called “Invasion.”

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In a major win for the local movie and TV production industries, California has extended the state’s film tax incentive program to 2025, adding five years to the program that has helped stem the tide of runaway productions to states including Georgia, Louisiana and New York.

These movies are part of the first round of film projects selected for California’s latest dispersion of film and television tax credits, which went into effect July 1 and drew 81 applicants.

“After announcing two relocating TV series earlier this month, our new tax credit program continues to get off to a great start with today’s list of film projects,” California Film Commission Executive Director Colleen Bell said in a statement.

The resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, has made the going slower as some producers have decided to pause on resuming filming. Most of the filming in Los Angeles County has been limited to smaller-scale productions, primarily commercials and TV programs shooting on soundstages.

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The state program, which is set to run through 2025, offers $330 million in annual tax credits meant to curb the flight of production from Los Angeles to other states that have their own lucrative incentives, including Georgia, New York and Louisiana.

The credits are awarded based on 20% to 25% of the qualified spending on film productions, such as money spent building sets and paying crew member salaries. Companies that receive the credits can use them to offset any state tax liability they have.

The nine movies selected have only been reserved a credit, and they must begin principal photography within 180 days to qualify for the incentives. However, the film commission has offered projects an extension if they need it.

Tyler Perry was among the first major filmmakers to restart shooting amid the coronavirus outbreak. He followed rigorous health and safety measures at his Atlanta studio.

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Five of the credits went to independent movies; four of them were for studio releases. Combined, they will generate an estimated $284 million in state expenditures and employ an estimated 1,340 crew, 342 cast and 14,397 background actors over a combined 374 filming days in California, the commission said.

Netflix’s action-thriller “Gray Man” alone will bring an estimated $102 million in wages and other spending, second only to the 2019 film “Captain Marvel,” according to the commission. The movie is co-produced and directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.

Three of the five independent projects, including the Jessica Chastain drama “Losing Clementine,” were accepted under the program’s new $10 million-and-under category, which reserves funds specifically for lower-budget indie features.

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The next and final application period this fiscal year for feature film tax credits will be held Jan. 25 to 27.


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