Of the 100 top performing feature films from 2017, a decent 10 percent were made mostly in California, according to a new study.
Not a bad figure. But 15 of those popular movies were shot in Georgia, another 15 in the United Kingdom and British Columbia claimed 11. Canada overall was the leading production site, with 20 of the films made across all its provinces. New York was the third busiest state with six features.
A study released Wednesday by FilmL.A., the not-for-profit film office for the city and county of Los Angeles and a number of other So Cal municipalities, also found that four of those 10 California films were animated: “The Boss Baby,” “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie,” “Cars 3” and “Coco.” The six live-action features that were made primarily in the state were “Annabelle: Creation,” “The Disaster Artist,” “Home Again,” “The House,” “How to Be a Latin Lover” and “Lady Bird.”
Not exactly the biggest boxoffice titles – Georgia hosted the likes of “The Fate of the Furious,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” while the Brits took credit for “Beauty and the Beast,” “Wonder Woman” and 2017’s highest grosser, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” But hey, film jobs are film jobs, and California got a lot of them out of the 10 productions that were made here.
“In an age when film production is an established global enterprise, California remains a top international competitor,” FilmL.A. President Paul Audley stated in a news release accompanying the study. “This report reinforces a fact that is increasingly well understood – that a skilled local workforce, robust infrastructure support, and a competitive film incentive are prerequisite for film project attraction at scale.”
Competitive, but not the most generous production incentive in the world, which explains why places like Georgia and the UK get more of the big productions.
“It is still not anywhere near what it is in other places, which is why places like London and Atlanta are where we primarily do it,” Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told the Southern California News Group last month, although his company has quite happily shot its upcoming superhero spectacular “Captain Marvel” in California. “It’s still more economically advantageous to shoot in those other places.”
That’s partially why, however, California’s $330 million-per-year production tax credit incentive seems like a better investment than the bigger-spending Brits’ ($822 million in U.S. dollars), Georgians’ ($800 million) and Canadians’ ($985 million, but in less-valuable loonies, in B.C. and Ontario alone) payouts to producers in the most recent year figures are available for, according to FilmL.A. report figures.
Cali also enjoyed the top percentage of in-jurisdiction spending, compared to its big films’ overall budgets, in the latest survey: $554 million out of $617 million total for those 10 movies, or 90 percent. New York and the UK did well, in the 80 percent range, for locally spent loot, and the Brits certainly saw more of it ($1.35 billion) for their 15 films than we did. Then again, those 20 Canadian productions only spent $564 million north of the border, just 66 percent of their total budgets and a mere $10 million more than the California 10 did here. Georgia, meanwhile, was quite taken advantage of by Hollywood slicksters; only $486 million out of $1.095 billion of their 15 movies’ costs remained in the Peach State, a sad 44 percent.
The FilmL.A. study concluded that 2017’s 100 best North American boxoffice performers spent more than $7.55 billion in 14 states and 20 nations, although half were primarily made in the U.S. Budgets on individual films ranged from $4.5 billion (“Get Out” – the one movie in the group filmed in Alabama – which grossed a cool $176 million domestically) to over $300 million (“Last Jedi,” probably “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” the woebegone “Justice League,” which only grossed $229 million domestic and perhaps a still not breakeven $658 million worldwide when promotional costs and splits with exhibitors are factored in). The average budget worked out to $74.3 million.
The report also digs deep into post-production, animation, visual effects, multi-year trends and other data. You can read the whole thing at https://www.filmla.com/our-services/research/