‘Joker’ & ‘Rebel Moon’ Sequels Among 18 Pics Set For California Tax Credits; Expected To Generate $915M In Production Spending

Four big-budget features are among the 18 film projects that have conditionally qualified for the latest round of California’s tax credit program. Together, they’re expected to generate an estimated $915 million in overall production spending across the state and employ nearly 600 actors, more than 2,500 crew members and thousands of background performers. See the list below.

“We are thrilled to continue welcoming the kind of big-budget films that used to be so susceptible to runaway production,” said California Film Commission Executive Director Colleen Bell. “In addition to our incentive, we have the best talent, crews, infrastructure, locations, weather, and so much more. California is ready to help filmmakers make the most of all we have to offer.”

In addition to cast and crew, the 18 films are also expected to generate significant post-production jobs and revenue for California VFX artists, sound editors, sound mixers, musicians, and other workers and vendors.

The four big-budget films receiving the subsidies are:

• An untitled Netflix Productions project. With $107.7 million in qualified spending, it will receive an estimated $20,511,000 in tax credits.
The Thomas Crown Affair (MGM). With $87.9 million in qualified spending, it will receive an estimated $19,570,000 in tax credits.
Joker: Folie à Deux (Warner Bros.) With $98.7 million in qualified spending, it will receive an estimated $12,600,000 in tax credits.
Rebel Moon Part 2 (Netflix). With $83 million in qualified spending, it will receive an estimated $16,618,000 in tax credits.

Combined, these four films are expected to generate $377 million in qualified spending and $748 million in overall spending in California.

“No other city has more resources than L.A. when it comes to our industry, and to have this kind of support for the work we do from the California Film Commission’s Film & Television Tax Credit Program is a nice welcome for all of us on Joker: Folie à Deux,” said Todd Phillips, the film’s director/writer/producer. “Having spent the last several years filming in iconic locales here in the U.S. and around the globe, I’m looking forward to returning to work in the place I call home and to serving the state by bringing a project of this scope to California.”

The latest round of films selected to receive tax credits also includes 14 independent films – five with qualified spending of more than $10 million, and nine with qualified spending of $10 million or less. None of those 14 films received more than $3 million in tax credits.

The Film Commission has reserved $93.7 million in tax credit allocations for the 18 conditionally approved projects – more than $37 million of which is going to the two Netflix Production projects. The list of approved projects is subject to change, as applicants may withdraw from the tax credit program and their reservation of credits is reassigned to one or more projects on the wait list.

Production of the 18 projects is set to occur over a combined 718 filming days in California, with 218 days of planned shooting outside of Los Angeles. The Thomas Crown Affair plans to shoot 30 of its 54 filming days in San Francisco. The 1968 version of the film was shot in and around Boston, and the 1999 version was filmed in New York City.

The 18 films’ $915 million in overall production spending includes $503 million in “qualified” spending, which the Film Commission defines as wages to below-the-line workers and payments to in-state vendors. Only the qualified portion of each project’s budget is eligible for tax credits under the state’s incentive program.

The California Film Commission received a total of 57 applications during the July 18 – 25 feature film tax credit application period. The next application period for feature films will be held January 30 – February 6, 2023. The next application period for TV projects will be held September 19 – 26, 2022.

The current generation of the California Film and TV Tax Credit Program – dubbed “Program 3.0” – was launched on July 1, 2020. New provisions include a pilot skills training program to help individuals from underserved communities gain access to career opportunities. Program 3.0 also adds provisions requiring projects to have a written policy for addressing unlawful harassment and enhanced reporting of above and below-the-line cast and crew employment diversity data.

In 2014, the California legislature passed a bill that more than tripled the size of the state’s film and television production incentive, from $100 million to $330 million annually. Aimed at retaining and attracting production jobs and economic activity across the state, “Program 2.0” also extended eligibility to include a range of project types (big-budget feature films, TV pilots and one-hour TV series for any distribution outlet) that were excluded from the state’s first-generation tax credit program.

Program 2.0 also introduced a “jobs ratio” ranking system to select projects based on “qualified” spending (wages paid to below-the-line workers and payments made to in-state vendors). To spur production statewide, an additional 5% tax credit was made available to non-independent projects that shoot outside the Los Angeles 30-Mile Studio Zone or that have qualified expenditures for visual effects or music scoring/track recording. The five-year Program 2.0 went into effect on July 1, 2015 and wrapped its fifth and final fiscal year (2019/20) on June 30, 2020.

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