L.A. Movie Production Tumbles 15 Percent in First Quarter

Rise in TV shoots, state tax credits kept dip from being worse, FilmL.A. executives say in new report

On-location feature film shoots skidded 15.4 percent from last year in the first quarter of 2015, according to a report issued Tuesday by permitting agency FilmL.A.

TV production was up 1.7 percent and commercial filming rose 6.2 percent in the same period, leaving overall production off 3.1 percent from last year, said the report, which measures on-location shoots only.

The disparity between the film drop and the TV gain is in part because returning TV shows took up most of the $100 million that California offers in tax credits, so the bulk of the funds were unavailable to many filmmakers.

The numbers make clear that the state’s new bulked-up and broadened tax credit program is needed, said FilmL.A. President Paul Audley. Gov. Brown last summer signed off on the credits plan, which increases the available funds to $330 million annually over the next five years.

“We remain hopeful that the region will also see gains in the feature category once the new credit takes effect in a few months,” he said. The California Film Commission will begin accepting applications for the new program from TV producers in May, and from filmmakers in July. The impact of the new plan will be seen for the first time in next year’s first quarter.

Among the feature films shooting in the region in the first quarter of this year were “She Said,” “Message From the King,” “Scouts vs. Zombies” (photo above) and “The Perfect Guy.”

Shoots of TV dramas rose 29.7 percent and reality show filming rose 19.8 percent in the quarter. The drama numbers are critical because they are usually high-end, hour-long productions and thus the most beneficial economically to the region.

Those gains helped offset losses in TV pilot shoots (which fell 19.4 percent), sitcoms (-14.8 percent) and web-based shows (-12.2 percent).

Among the shows that utilized state tax incentives to film in the quarter were “Hit the Floor,” “Justified,” “Murder in the First” and “Teen Wolf.” They accounted for roughly 13 percent of the TV shoots.

Driving the uptrend in on-location commercial production were TV or web spots for Best Buy, Bose, Honda, TJ Maxx, Samsung and Yelp!