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Joker 2 and Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon Sequel Nab California Film Tax Credits


Joaquin Phoenix in Joker/Warner Bros.

The California Film Commission has announced the latest round of projects accepted into the state’s Film & Television Tax Credit Program, including sequels to Todd PhillipsJoker and Zack Snyder‘s upcoming Netflix movie Rebel Moon, which is expected to premiere in 2023.

The list of projects includes two additional big-budget films as well as 14 independent films that, when combined, are on track to generate an estimated $915 million in overall production spending across the state. The overall figure includes $503 million in “qualified” spending, defined as wages to below-the-line workers and payments to in-state vendors. Only the qualified portion of each project’s budget is eligible for tax credits under California’s uniquely targeted incentive program.

The four big-budget films are:

Joker: Folie à Deux ($98.7 million in qualified spending)

Rebel Moon Part 2 ($83 million in qualified spending)

The Thomas Crown Affair ($87.9 million in qualified spending)

Untitled NF Project ($107.7 million in qualified spending)

These four features offer proof that big-budget film production continues to bounce back in California, as they alone are expected to generate $377 million in qualified spending and $748 million in overall spending in the state.

Colleen Bell
Colleen Bell image via Elaine Lee Photography

“We are thrilled to continue welcoming the kind of big-budget films that used to be so susceptible to runaway production,” said Colleen Bell, executive director of the California Film Commission. “In addition to our incentive, we have the best talent, crews, infrastructure, locations, weather and so much more. California is ready to help filmmakers make the most of all we have to offer.”

“No other city has more resources than L.A. when it comes to our industry, and to have this kind of support for the work we do from the California Film Commission’s Film & Television Tax Credit Program is a nice welcome for all of us on Joker: Folie à Deux,” added Phillips. “Having spent the last several years filming in iconic locales here in the U.S. and around the globe, I’m looking forward to returning to work in the place I call home and to serving the state by bringing a project of this scope to California.”

In addition to big-budget projects, the latest round of tax credits includes 14 independent films — five with qualified spending of over $10 million, and nine with qualified spending of $10 million or less.

In all, the independent and non-independent film projects accepted into the state’s tax credit program will employ an estimated 2,544 crew, 596 cast, and 28,767 background actors/stand-ins (the latter measured in “man-days”). They will also generate significant post-production jobs and revenue for California VFX artists, sound editors, sound mixers, musicians, and other workers/vendors.

Production for the 18 projects is slated to occur over a combined 718 filming days in California, with 218 days (just over 30 percent) planned outside the Los Angeles 30-Mile Studio Zone (see “Allocation #2 Out of Zone Filming” chart below). This continues a long-term trend of bringing production jobs and spending to regions across the state. Filming for the 18 projects is planned in at least 10 California counties, from San Francisco and Kern to San Diego.

Out-of-zone filming will be led by The Thomas Crown Affair, with 30 of its 54 filming days planned in San Francisco County. The two prior versions of the popular romance thriller in 1968 and 1999 were shot primarily in and around Boston and New York City, respectively.

The California Film Commission received a total of 57 applications during the July 18-25 feature film tax credit application period. It has reserved a total of $93.7 million in tax credit allocation for the 18 conditionally approved projects (see “Fiscal Year 3 – Allocation #2 Conditionally Approved Projects” chart below). The list of approved projects is subject to change, as applicants may withdraw from the tax credit program and their reservation of credits is reassigned to one or more projects on the waitlist.

The next application period for feature films will be held from Jan. 30-Feb. 6, 2023. The next application period for TV projects will be held Sept. 19-26, 2022.

The third generation of the California Film and TV Tax Credit Program (dubbed “Program 3.0”) was launched on July 1, 2020. New provisions include a pilot skills training program to help individuals from underserved communities gain access to career opportunities. Program 3.0 also adds provisions requiring projects to have a written policy for addressing unlawful harassment and enhanced reporting of above and below-the-line cast and crew employment diversity data.

Governor Gavin Newsom recently voiced his support for SB 485, which will extend California’s Film & TV Tax Credit Program an additional five years through fiscal year 2029-2030. Click here for more information about California’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program 3.0, including application procedures, eligibility, and guidelines.

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