FilmL.A. report: Big movies fleeing California


A new report from FilmL.A. provides further evidence that California is rapidly losing its share of big budget feature films to rival states and countries.

Last year, only two of the top 25 big-budget movies, whose combined budgets totaled more than $3.5 billion, filmed primarily in California: “The Hangover Part III” and “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” according to a report released Thursday morning by FilmL.A.

That’s a sharp decline from 15 years ago, when 16 of the top 25 live-action movies at the box office were filmed in California, the report states.


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Among 2014 releases, just two live-action movies with budgets of more than $100 million shot primarily in California: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Interstellar.”

“The analysis... serves to highlight a very basic, yet fundamentally important, point: big budget movies are simply not being made in California anymore,” the study concludes.

The United States served as the primary production location for 65% (70 films) of the 108 films FilmL.A. surveyed.

However, only 14% of the films were primarily produced in California, causing the state to slip behind Louisiana in total tracked projects.

Louisiana ranked first with 18 movies. Canada and California tied with 15 movies apiece, followed closely by the United Kingdom, which hosted 12. Rounding out the top five locations was the state of Georgia, which hosted nine films.

Without exception, California’s most successful competitors for new feature film projects offer significant, uncapped film incentive programs, the report concludes.

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The research echoes the findings in a Los Angeles Times report in December that found California’s share of top grossing movies dropped by 60%, from 57 movies wholly or partially shot in the state in 1997 to just 23 in 2012.

“Considering California’s vast filmmaking talent, the state should be exporting films for global audiences, not jobs to global competitors,” said Paul Audley, president of FilmL.A., which handles film permits for the city and county. “State policymakers have the opportunity to make a difference this year by expanding California’s film and television tax credit. We hope they give the strongest possible signal to the film industry that they want to keep film jobs in California.”

The report did identify some bright spots. When it comes to commercially successful big-budget films, California-produced animated films outnumber California-produced live-action films by more than 2 to 1.


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Twitter: @rverrier