Numerous reports have gone out the past several days about the status of filmmaking in California and around the world. As the lure of tax incentives continues to grow, filmmakers are deserting Hollywood, which currently ranks behind Louisiana and the U.K. for top live-action filming locations.
108 films were produced in 2013. Of those, 18 blockbusters were shot in Louisiana alone. California tied with Canada for second place, with 15 films. The U.K. produced 12, and the state of Georgia carried the tail with 9, leading to several other incentives-heavy states such as New York and North Carolina.
A popular belief is that, while tax incentives are bringing film jobs to places like New Orleans and Atlanta, California itself still benefits from the visual effects and post-production departments. However, the Hollywood Reporter's coverage mentions that “there is only one VFX company left in California, Industrial Light & Magic.” Even ILM, it seems, is expanding its studios—not within the Bay Area, but to Vancouver.
The biggest incentive for films produced in the top locations last year appears to be the “substantial uncapped” offer from those states' programs. Filmmakers are flocking where there's no limit on budgetary spending. Crew and businesses who rely on entertainment income are following the film work out of California. Many crew members have already established residence across Louisiana over the last several years, brought to town because of the steady work.
The news about Hollywood South's continued growth is refreshing after the tax battles faced last year. Gov. Bobby Jindal's attempts to secure local revenue was met with outrage across the industry, whose workers and supporters fought back to maintain a flow of production work.
Louisiana's economy blooms as that of Hollywood itself fades away. Will California succeed in revising their own tax programs for the survival of the state's economy? Or should we all start getting accustomed to Hollywood's new homes in the north and south?
2014 predicts a ruling for the latter. Only two films releasing this year (Captain America: Winter Soldier and Interstellar) were produced in California with budgets over $100 million. It appears, though, that California is open to joining the tax breaks bandwagon. In the end, it seems, only time will tell where Hollywood's future is headed.