30 different film projects, including Jerry Seinfeld’s “Unfrosted” for Netflix and Tom Brady’s recently announced film “80 For Brady,” are among the movies that have qualified for the latest round of tax credits for filming inside the state of California.
The California Film Commission announced Monday that 19 indie and 11 studio films were selected for the latest round as part of the state’s Film & TV Tax Credit Program 3.0. These projects will bring an estimated $1.17 billion in combined production spending to California, including $774 million in “qualified” spending (defined as wages to below-the-line workers and payments to in-state vendors).
It has reserved $149.2 million in tax credit allocation for the 30 conditionally approved projects. Only the qualified portion of each project’s budget is eligible for tax credits under California’s uniquely targeted incentive program.
Four of the films alone are big budget projects that the film commission says will spend an estimated $553 million in California, including $439.2 million in qualified spending. Those include the three Netflix projects: “Unfrosted” is Seinfeld’s film about the invention of the Pop Tart that he’s directing and starring in; “Beverly Hills Cop 4” starring Eddie Murphy; and “Atlas” starring Jennifer Lopez. There is also an untitled Amazon Studios film.
“Beverly Hills Cop 4” was previously accepted into a prior tax credit allocation and reapplied for the current round of film credits.
“We are so happy to get the California tax credit which enables us to make our whole movie there,” said “Unfrosted” writer, director and star Seinfeld. “Having made all of the ‘Seinfeld’ series in LA, I very much wanted to come back and shoot there again. On behalf of everyone working on the movie, we really appreciate the great welcome.”
Other notable films on the list include Brady’s “80 for Brady,” a road trip movie set at Paramount that will star the now-retired NFL legend alongside Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno, Jane Fonda and Sally Field, “Dust” starring Claire Foy and “Family Leave” starring Jennifer Garner.
“I’m so excited that our film has been awarded the California tax credit,” Garner said. “As an actor, producer and mother, it’s impossible to overstate what shooting locally means to me and other families in this industry. I’ve been lucky to work with some of the greatest crew members of my career here in California, and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with some of my home team friends on this project.”
The goal of the tax credit has been to bring more big-budget projects back to California, spread production across the state and beyond the Los Angeles area and ensure that indie projects with a range of budgets have access to the tax credits.
“We’re leveling the playing field for the types of big-budget films targeted so aggressively by jurisdictions with more sweeping incentive programs,” California Film Commission Executive Director Colleen Bell said in a statement. “Filmmakers want to work here in the Golden State and understand that chasing the highest incentive doesn’t ensure the best value.”
The 30 projects announced today will employ an estimated 4,564 crew, 1,212 cast and 48,646 background actors/stand-ins (the latter measured in “man-days”). They will also generate significant post-production jobs and revenue for California VFX artists, sound editors, sound mixers, musicians and other workers/vendors. They will also account for a combined 1,095 filming days in California, with 327 of those days (nearly 30%) planned outside the Los Angeles 30-Mile Studio Zone, which is the most days outside of the zone in the history of the tax credit program.
“Our tax credit program continues to bring jobs and opportunity statewide,” added Bell. “The current round of projects will directly impact more regions of the state than any round in the program’s history, and that’s a terrific milestone.”
The California Film Commission received a total of 76 applications during the January 24-31 feature film tax credit application period. 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 waitlist. The next application period for feature films will be held July 18 – 25. The next application period for recurring and relocating TV series will be held March 7-14.