Muted joy over jump in location film shoots in L.A. region last month

Thanks to a flurry of low-budget celebrity-packed pictures, location shoots jumped 74% in April over last year, continuing double-digital gains from the first quarter of the year.

But the welcome news was tempered that most were features costing less than $20 million that don’t pack the same economic punch as big studio movies that mostly film in Louisiana, Georgia and other states with richer incentives.

California offers a credit of up to 25% of qualified production expenses, but the credit applies only to movies with budgets lower than $75 million.

What’s more, feature film activity, while up by double digits this year, remains a fraction of what it was during its peak more than a decade ago. And in a development that is more worrisome for Los Angeles, location filming for television shows — long a key driver of economic activity in the entertainment sector — continued to decline.

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-- Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times

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