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California Tax Credits: ‘Purge 2,’ ‘Entourage’ Movie Among Projects OK’d

Seventeen studio projects and 14 indies are chosen from a record 380 applications

Warner Bros.' "Entourage" movie, Blumhouse Productions' "Purge 2," cable network FX's "Justified" and CBS Studios' relocating "King & Maxwell" got some good news Tuesday. They were among the 31 projects picked by lottery to receive tax credits from the California Film Commission’s $100 million allocation.

Fourteen film productions and 17 TV productions have been conditionally approved to receive credits. The commission says 14 of the projects are independent and 17 are studio-based. (The complete list of approved projects is at the bottom.)

The approved projects broke down like this: of the 14 feature films, two are from studios and 12 are independents; of the TV projects, 12 are series, two are relocating series and three are movies.

The commission estimated the projects will spend more than $770 million in California, including nearly $290 million in qualified wages.They will employ an estimated 2,980 cast members and 3,730 crew members.

Also read: California Tax Credit Applications Hit All-Time High

A record 380 applications were filed Monday. That’s an 18 percent increase from the 322 projects that sought the credits last year, the previous high. The 31 projects is up from the 28 that received a conditional OK last year.

Studios, networks and independent TV and film companies began applying for the credits at 9 a.m. Monday at the California Film Commission office in Hollywood, and at 3 p.m. the 28 projects were drawn from a hopper.

Also read: With TV and Film Production Heading Overseas, Should Uncle Sam Get Into Showbiz?

The program has been over-subscribed since its inception in 2009, when the state lawmakers approved the funding to help stem the flow of productions leaving California, many to states and countries offering tax incentives. Once the total sum of credits allocated reaches $100 million, any additional projects are placed on a waiting list.

Not making the initial cut isn’t the end of the road for the applicants. They are eligible for a waiting list and can take the spots of approved projects that drop out – usually for funding reasons – or have production delays. Last year, a total of 75 projects eventually received credits.

The list even changed from Monday, when 28 projects were initially approved. A bigger-budger project fell out, opening up slots for three more projects Tuesday

Last year, the Halle Berry thriller "The Call" failed to make the first cut but eventually took a spot that opened up.

Also read: It's D-Day for California TV, Film Tax Credits: But How Essential Are They?

California lawmakers extended the tax incentive program through 2017 last year with the same $100 million annual allocation. Its supporters had sought a five-year extension, arguing that the stability that would have provided would serve as an inducement, particularly to TV producers.