A movie version of the 1970s TV series “CHiPs” heads the list of 11 films sharing in the California Film Commission’s newly expanded tax-credits program, the commission announced Tuesday.
The Warner Bros. film, with Michael Pena and Dax Shepard stepping into the California Highway Patrol officer roles originated by Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox, is one of eight studio projects on the list.
Paramount, Fox and Disney each have two projects getting a piece of the pie and New Line has one under the plan, which replaces the previous system that excluded expensive studio projects and did little to slow the trend of runaway production – studios choosing to shoot in other states offering richer incentives.
The three independent films on the list are from production companies that rarely work in California, including Alcon Entertainment, which is based in Los Angeles but hasn’t shot a film here in more than a decade. It will return to shoot a film version of the popular book “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”
Gov. Jerry Brown last year signed into law that boosted the state’s available film tax credits from $100 million a year to $330 million, expanded the types of projects that could quality and changed how the tax credits are doled out. When deciding which projects get tax credits, the state film commission now takes into account the number of jobs a production will create, among other factors.
The 11 titles announced Tuesday will share in the $55.2 million allocated for feature films. In June, the commission picked 11 TV shows that will share in $82.8 million in credits. The expanded credits are aimed at fighting runaway production by making California’s tax credits more competitive with those offered in other states.
“We’re fighting back and winning,” said California Film Commission executive director Amy Lemisch in a statement. “We were losing projects that were set here at home, and now we’re back to doubling for other locales. This demonstrates that when the playing field is more level, the industry views California as the first and best option.”
The commission said the 11 approved projects announced today will generate an estimated $533 million in direct in-state spending, including $171 million in wages for below-the-line crew members, based on data submitted with the applications.
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