NEWS

Now, as Cameron announced at CinemaCon in April, there are four sequels in the pipeline scheduled for release starting in December 2018 with Avatar 2 and ending in 2023 when the fourth sequel is set to be released by 20th Century Fox. With nearly 10 years between the first and second films, how do you keep the Avatar fever alive in a business that loves moving on to the next big thing?

 
Cameron and his fellow Oscar-winning Titanic and Avatar producer Jon Landau had an answer to that and hooked up with Cirque du Soleil for the touring show Toruk: The First Flight, a multimedia live stage spectacle featuring 40 projectors alone, and set thousands of years before the events depicted in the original film. It is billed as being “inspired by James Cameron’s Avatar.” The show has been touring North America this year, building to its Southern California debut tonight, beginning in Ontario followed by L.A.’s Staples Center and later at the Forum in Inglewood. I recently ventured out to the Manhattan Beach studios where the new films are in various stages of production and talked to Landau not only about their progress but also the unique plan he and Cameron have for keeping the franchise on the front burner, from Cirque du Soleil to slot machines to worldwide traveling exhibitions, before the real deal hits theaters again in two years.

 

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California’s new $330 million-a-year tax credit, which was expanded to TV pilots, is paying dividends as the number of broadcast drama pilots filmed in Los Angeles has risen for a second consecutive year. Following the dismal all-time low of five broadcast pilots in 2014, L.A.’s tally went up to seven last year. This year, there are 10 broadcast drama pilots shot in LA, plus one in San Diego (Fox’s baseball-themed Pitch, which is being produced with the cooperation of the Padres). That brings the total of California-made broadcast pilots to 11, inching closer to the 2013 level of 13.

Two of the 2016 pilots already have been approved for a tax credit — Pitch and NBC’s untitled Dan Fogelman dramedy — as their producer 20th TV had applied last year in anticipation of pickups for the projects. They will likely be joined by other pilots in the current round of tax credits whose application period ended Monday.

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Another surge in scripted television shoots boosted location film production in the Los Angeles area for 2015, even as feature films and reality TV continued to slide.

On-location filming rose 1.3% to 37,289 total production days last year, according to newly released figures from FilmL.A. Inc. The data track filming on city and county streets and noncertified sound stages in the Los Angeles region.

Television production has grown in recent years thanks largely to the increased demand for original TV content. The rise of premium cable and new media players such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have increased competition across the television business.

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Now that the California Film Commission has unveiled the first round of feature films to receive incentives under the state’s recently expanded tax credit program, producers are indicating that the new scheme is an anti-runaway success.

The tax credit of up to 25% is aimed at keeping the industry in California, despite more lucrative government incentives elsewhere.

Two of the titles that got allocations from the state are set in locales that consistently have lured runaways: New Line’s “Conjuring 2,” partially set in the U.K.; and “Why Him,” set in Michigan.

Besides “Conjuring 2,” perhaps the best-known among the 11 films conditionally selected on Aug. 18 are Warner Bros.’ CHiPs comedy, starring Dax Shephard; Alcon Entertainment’s “Chicken Soup for the Soul”; and an indie film version of David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks.” The 11 films will receive a total of $55 million in credits, and were picked from 254 productions that had applied.

“Twin Peaks” creators Lynch and Mark Frost, whose film received a $2.5 million allocation, say that bringing the project back to California puts the picture “where it belongs.”

Two months after the California Film Commission board approved new regulations for the state’s film and television tax incentives, Sacramento has signed off. Today, the Office of Administrative Law approved the new regs pretty much as the CFC submitted them back in February.

This approval is in good time for the first application process under the new $330 million credits. With the much criticized lottery system now over, TV applicants can digitally submit their projects for potential incentives based on job creation centric criteria from May 11–17. Features get their first kick at the greatly increased incentives can from July 13-25. For the first time, projects with budgets over $75 million will be eligible for the film credits. The CFC estimates those successful applicants in both the film and TV categories will be informed within two weeks of their submission.

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When Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law last September a dramatic expansion of the state’s film and TV tax credit program, it was in many ways just the start of the new effort to lure production back to California.

On Thursday, the California Film Commission unanimously passed draft regulations that will govern how the $330 million in annual tax credits will be disbursed. The regulations now go to the state Office of Administrative Law for final approval, so there still could be changes.

The legislation more than tripled the amount of tax credits available to movie and TV projects, as well as expanded eligibility to include big-budget feature films, one-hour drama series and TV pilots. But perhaps the biggest change was in the way applicants will be awarded credits.

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Legislation to expand California’s incentives for movie and TV production cleared the Assembly’s Revenue and Taxation Committee on Tuesday, as lawmakers try to respond to the flight of production to other states with a sweeter offering of tax credits.

There had been few doubts that the legislation, AB 1839, would make it out of the Revenue and Taxation Committee, whose chairman is Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, who co-authored the bill along with fellow Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto. The vote was 8-0.

The legislation would expand the incentive program to cover feature films with budgets over $75 million as well as new TV drama series, addressing the loss of such productions to other states. The legislation also has a special 5% credit for music scoring and editing, and Gatto said that they were working on additional provisions for post-production, as well as visual effects.

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A new bill intended to expand and overhaul California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program passed its first legislative test today as the state Assembly’s Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, And Internet Media committee voted unanimously in support of the measure. Introduced on February 19, the California Film and Television Job and Promotion Act now moves to the Revenue and Taxation Committee and then the Appropriations committee as it heads its way to a full vote, a state Senate twin and eventually Gov. Jerry Brown‘s desk by the end of the summer. A long political route that AB 1839’s backers think will prove successful.

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Mayor Eric Garcetti, appearing at a daylong Hollywood Chamber of Commerce event with his new film czar, Tom Sherak, laid out a blueprint for stemming the loss of film and TV production from Los Angeles.

The plan calls for a drastic reduction in red tape by the city; a push to increase the state’s $100 million in tax incentives, which are currently eclipsed by New York, Louisiana and Georgia, among others; and a public campaign to increase awareness of the importance of filmmaking to the local economy.

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Eric Garcetti said today at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s second annual State of the Industry Conference that he is serious about getting state politicians to expand California’s $100 million annual Film/TV Tax Credit program. “We are going to go to Sacramento and storm that place like you’ve never seen before,” L.A.’s mayor said. In place since 2009, the current program “should be expanded because it makes good business sense,” he added. Garcetti also told the crowd that he wanted to launch a campaign to show people how production in LA benefits all businesses in the city. His remarks came after various speakers from both the industry and Sacramento criticized the current $100 million annual lottery system program as unstable, unrealistic and providing too little money.

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Eric Garcetti said today at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s second annual State of the Industry Conference that he is serious about getting state politicians to expand California’s $100 million annual Film/TV Tax Credit program. “We are going to go to Sacramento and storm that place like you’ve never seen before,” L.A.’s mayor said. In place since 2009, the current program “should be expanded because it makes good business sense,” he added. Garcetti also told the crowd that he wanted to launch a campaign to show people how production in LA benefits all businesses in the city. His remarks came after various speakers from both the industry and Sacramento criticized the current $100 million annual lottery system program as unstable, unrealistic and providing too little money.

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NEWS

‘Avatar’ Expanding To Slot Machines & Beyond As Cirque du Soleil Show Hits L.A. & Four Sequels Loom

Now, as Cameron announced at CinemaCon in April, there are four sequels in the pipeline scheduled for release starting in December 2018 with Avatar 2 and ending in 2023 when the fourth sequel is set to be released by 20th Century Fox.

Continue reading

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