‘Akira’ Movie From Leonardo DiCaprio Among 18 Features Approved for California Tax Credit

Projects estimated to generate $408 million in qualified spending

Leonardo DiCaprio Akira
Getty Images/Toho Company

The live-action “Akira,” which has long been kicking at Warner Bros. and from producer Leonardo DiCaprio, is one among the latest 18 projects selected for California’s film and TV tax credit program 2.0.

In all, it’s expected that the 10 non-indies and eight independent projects will generate an estimated $408 million in qualified expenditures in the state. Ten of the films are shooting outside the Los Angeles 30-mile zone, and all 18 projects are combining for 740 shoot days in California.

“Akira,” which is based on the anime film by Katsuhiro Otomo and is set in Tokyo in 2060, alone will generate an estimated $92 million in qualified spending for the state. That figure includes $43 million in wages paid to 200 below-the-line crew members and more than 5,000 extras and stand-ins. With a tax credit reservation of $18.5 million, the project is scheduled to film entirely in California over the course of 71 filming days. DiCaprio is producing on behalf of his Appian Way along with Jennifer Davisson.

“We are thrilled with the opportunity to shoot ‘Akira’ in California,” Ravi Mehta, Warner Bros. Pictures EVP of physical production and finance, said in a statement. “The availability of top-notch crew members, plus the wide variety of location choices and predictable weather are second to none.”

Some of the other non-indie films that qualified for the latest version of the tax credit include “Covers,” a music-themed romance set in Los Angeles as directed by Nisha Ganatra (“Late Night”) and set up at Universal, an adaptation of the YA novel “The Sky Is Everywhere,” and Tucker Tooley’s “Flying Horse” starring Gary Oldman.

Projects to have received the tax credit in the past include “Space Jam 2,” “A Wrinkle in Time,” “Birds of Prey,” “Captain Marvel” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” These projects were specifically targeted by California’s expanded tax credit program due to the boost they would provide to the economy.

“Big-budget film projects bring big employment and big spending, and we’re able to bring them home to California more cost-effectively than other locales that don’t have all that we have to offer,” California Film Commission executive director Amy Lemisch said in a statement. “‘Akira’ is just the latest in a growing list of big-budget film projects that have found California offers the best value despite the availability of more aggressive financial incentives in other states and nations. It’s also one of a growing list of California tax credit films to bring production jobs and spending to regions across the state.”

See the full list of qualified programs below:

  • “Akira” (Warner Bros.) — $18.488 million
  • “Can I Be Honest” (Good Films Collective) — $2.5 million
  • “Captain Infinity” (Jayhawker Holdings) — $2.257 million
  • “Covers” (Focus Features) — $4.613 million
  • “Cry, Baby” (Cry Baby Productions) — $2.865 million
  • “Dancing Stallion” (Centurion Project) — $270,000
  • “Double Take” (Paramount) — $6.303 million
  • “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (Hotdog Hands) — $2.543 million
  • “Flying Horse” (Tucker Tooley Productions) — $4.382 million
  • “King Richard” (Star Thrower Entertainment) — $2.5 million
  • “Map of Tiny Perfect Things” (Newsub 101 Productions) — $5.471 million
  • “Psycho Killer” (Pariah) — $2.5 million
  • “Revenge” (Solutions Media) — $1.868 million
  • “The Sky is Everywhere” (Post Its) — $1.655 million
  • “Stand Up” (Endeavor Content) — $2.5 million
  • “Stillwater” (New Line Productions) — $7.307 million
  • “Two Days” (Paramount) — $7.112 million
  • “Untitled Wonderland Project” (Wonderland Sound and Vision) — $2.5 million

The list is subject to change, as applicants may withdraw from the program and their reservation of tax credits is reassigned to one or more other projects currently on the wait list. The next application period for feature film tax credits will be June 17-21, 2019.