At least one blockbuster project headlines the titles selected to receive tax credits to shoot in California.
The state’s film office on Friday said that California’s Film & TV tax credit program will welcome a trio of feature films, including Quentin Tarantino’s The Movie Critic, as well as a roster of 13 independent films. (No studio is currently attached to The Movie Critic yet.)
Netflix ($20 million) is the only major studio nabbing credits in this allotment for an untitled film. Lionsgate ($21.1 million) led the way in the previous round of incentives and Netflix and Warner Bros. in the previous four before that.
Tarantino’s final project, listed as “#10” in a nod to his 10th and final movie and produced through L. Driver Productions ($20.2 million), tops the list for the three feature titles that were conditionally granted incentives. The film revolves around a cynical movie critic, whom Tarantino read growing up, and is set in 1977 Southern California. The production is projected to generate more in-state spending than any other movie in the film office’s 14-year history, with $128.4 million in qualified spending. The figure eclipses the record set by Lionsgate’s Michael Jackson biopic Michael ($120.1 million), which was selected to receive credits in March.
“I love shooting in California,” Tarantino said in a statement. “I started directing movies here and it is only fitting that I shoot my final motion picture in the cinema capital of the world.”
The director added, “There is nothing like shooting in my hometown; the crews are the best I’ve ever worked with, and the locations are amazing.”
Restless Productions, Inc. was also granted $20.7 million in credits for Under My Skin, a Frank Sinatra biopic.
Combined, the three big-budget movies will generate an estimated $362 million in qualified spending and $540 million in total production spending in California. They mark a record for the state’s film and TV tax incentive program in terms of spending generated by large studio projects in a single round of tax credits, passing the record set in the last film allocation round announced in March 2023.
In total, the 16 projects selected to receive a total of $77.8 million in tax credits this round are on track to bring $670 million in total production spending, including roughly $466 million in qualified expenditures. (Defined as wages to below-the-line workers and payments to in-state vendors.) They will also employ an estimated 2,422 crew, 851 cast and 23,427 actors and stand-ins, shooting in the state for the entirety of production.
“While production is now drastically reduced, today’s news about projects in our tax credit program signals there will be a much-welcome surge in California-based production once the strikes are resolved,” said California Film Commission Executive Director Colleen Bell.
California designates $330 million annually in credits to shoot in the state. Legislators passed in June a bill that makes the incentives refundable, meaning companies could receive a refund for a portion of their credits that exceed their tax liability. Only Disney and NBCUniversal had tax liabilities in California to take full advantage of the program. Most other states have similar schemes.
Given the dual work stoppage that has essentially brought production to a halt, projects are expected to invoke the tax credit program’s force majeure provision, which pauses the 180-day start date requirement for principal photography. Credits will not be distributed until production is completed and all wages and expenses have been paid.
Of the 13 independent films selected to participate in the tax incentive program, which will generate a combined $104 million in qualified spending, ten have budgets of less than $10 million. They include four projects from parent company Faith Media ($3.8 million): Agent Plus, Boys Club, International Gangster and Quadir’s Redemption.
“I’m a resident of California and it brings me great joy to work with locals and to take advantage of all the amazing things the state has to offer,” said Faith Media president Yolanda Halley in a statement.
The California Film Commission received a total of 55 applications during this round of credits for feature films. The next application periods for features and TV projects will be from Jan. 8-15 and Sept. 4-13 respectively.