This month, FilmL.A. released a new report prepared by its research division. Employing a new sampling method, the 2016 Feature Film Study analyzes the 100 highest-performing U.S. feature films released theatrically last year, identifying where they were filmed and how much was spent to produce them. The report also examines California’s top competitors and four-year trends in feature production yield.
Of the films sampled, a total of 12 California-made projects were released theatrically in 2016 (7 live-action & 5 animated), giving the Golden State a fourth-place rank among international competitors, in terms of projects hosted. Georgia took first place with 17 projects (all live-action). The United Kingdom immediately followed, with 16 projects (all live-action).
In terms of project spending, the 12 projects that filmed in California brought an estimated $851.2 million in total production spending to the state, a second-place finish behind the study-leading United Kingdom, which attracted $1.1 billion in production spending.
“California’s top competitors are investing substantial sums to attract new feature projects with large production budgets,” observed FilmL.A. President Paul Audley. “This study provides an updated look at California’s position within this space, and re-affirms the highly competitive nature of tax credits and rebate programs worldwide.”
Despite its competitors’ success in attracting new feature projects, California remains the world’s top film & television production center. With over $30 billion in direct spending annually, the volume of film production activity in California is more than New York, Georgia, Louisiana, the UK and Canada combined.
Some of the report’s other findings include:
- The 100 films studied by FilmL.A. represent over $7.5 billion in direct production spending. Budgets for these films ranged from $3.5 million to over $300 million.
- Of the California-based live action films, 44 percent (3 out of 7 projects) were made in the state thanks to the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program. These projects spent approximately $99.5 million filming in California, receiving $12.4 million in tax credits.
- All films with budgets over $100 million that were produced in California were animated projects. The five animated films produced in California represent less than half of the state’s project count, but account for 78 percent ($770 million) of the total budget value ($991 million) for all California movies in the survey.
- From a national perspective, the US hosted 57 percent of the top 100 films, which is the lowest share in the past four years. From 2013-2015, the US production share for the top 100 films ranged from 63-67 percent.
- Film incentive availability continues to drive location choice for feature film production and post-production including VFX and music scoring. Exact incentive award amounts were available for 37 films in the study — valued at $596 million in the aggregate.