On-location filming in the Greater Los Angeles area declined 9.1% between the first quarters of 2018 and 2019, according to data from FilmLA.
Despite 2019's slower start, we continue to expect that this will be among the most productive-ever years for on-location filming in Los Angeles," said Paul Audley, president of FilmLA.” /> "We've identified several factors contributing to the slowdown, and in our view, they are not a cause for alarm.
FilmLA theorizes that contract talks between SAG-AFTRA and commercial producers may have played a role in the slowdown as higher-budget projects usually film where tax incentive support is available. Shooting days for commercials declined 15.1% from 1,633 to 1,387 days. Historically, commercials have been strong in Los Angeles — the first quarter of 2018 was the most productive quarter on record.
A slowdown in the production of feature films, television and commercials contributed to the decrease seen in the first few months of this year. Filmmakers logged 8,843 shoot days from January through March, down from the 9,724 days in the first quarter of 2018.
Production for pilots (-60.3%), reality shows (-25.2%) and web-based TV (-28.5%) made up the majority of the losses. Television dropped from 3,623 shooting days to 3,139 between the years' first quarters, a decline of 13.4%. Some of the larger drama projects that shot in Los Angeles last quarter include "This is Us," "Legion," "The Rookie" and "Animal Kingdom." However, scripted dramas and comedies were up 4.6% and 26.8%, respectively.
Despite the drop, FilmLA expects local filming to increase as the year continues.
According to FilmLA, the drastic decline in TV pilots comes from fewer new projects being made each year, and 2018 saw the fewest new pilots since 2008. In 2019's first quarter, only 27 pilots filmed on area streets, 10% fewer than 2018's first quarter.
There are 10 studio and eight independent projects for the tax credit program poised to start production in the state, the California Film Commission announced in April. Unusual timing seems to be one culprit behind the decline. Feature film production decreased 13% from the first quarter of 2018 to 2019, from 814 to 708 shooting days. Only one project brought by the California Film & Tax Credit Program has filmed in Los Angeles since January as other incentivized titles wrapped by the end of last year.

The story is set in 1969 and deals with impact of the murders by the Manson Family. Fox will receive a $17.1 million credit for "Call of the Wild." Tarantino's film, which has been set up at Sony, will received an $18 million tax credit after it completes production.
In addition to the two big-budget films, other notable projects include "Destroyer" directed by Karyn Kusama and starring Nicole Kidman, and an untitled Dan Gilroy project starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. A total of 54 projects (37 independent, 17 non-independent) applied for credits during the Oct. The tax credit allocation announced Monday reserves $62.8 million in credits for 11 films (four independent, seven non-independent). 16-20 application period.
They join other recently announced big-budget projects for California including "Captain Marvel," "Island Plaza," "Midway," "Ad Astra," "Bumblebee," and "Wrinkle in Time." Both titles will be shot in-state.
Notable examples include "San Andreas" (Australia), "Godzilla" (Vancouver), "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" (Vancouver and Louisiana), "Battle: Los Angeles" (Louisiana), and "Million Dollar Arm" (Georgia). Lemisch noted that in years past, several films set in California were shot in other locales where tax credits are more generous.
"Despite aggressive incentives worldwide, California is once again competing for big projects because we’re able to provide the best overall value," said California Film Commission executive director Amy Lemisch. "Films today can be shot just about anywhere, so it’s great to see so much production returning to the Golden State."
The commission said the 11 film projects are on track to employ nearly 2,500 cast and crew, and generate more than $320 million in qualified spending (defined as wages to below-the-line workers and payments for equipment/vendors).” />
The California Film Commission has selected two big-budget films – "Call of the Wild" and Quentin Tarantino’s "Untitled #9" — as recipients of the state's production tax credit.
Tarantino's film, which was nabbed by Sony, is getting an $18 million credit. Fox's "Call of the Wild" is getting a $17 million credit.
The 2015-16 fiscal year marked a major expansion for the seven-year-old tax credit program, aimed at halting the erosion of California-based production to states with bigger incentives, such as Georgia and New York. The annual allocation rose from $100 million to $330 million, and applications are ranked on how many jobs they will produce, rather than being selected by lottery.
The program expansion, enacted in 2014 by California lawmakers, covers five years and $1.65 billion in tax credits. The credit is set at 20%, but producers are eligible for an additional 5% "uplift" if they shoot outside the L.A. zone, commit to music scoring or music track recording in the state, or to do visual effects in California.
The commission noted Monday that such projects would have been ineligible for tax credits under the state’s first-generation Program 1.0, which was closed to films with budgets exceeding $75 million.
There's a reason this place was the movie capital of the world for so many decades. "Everyone associated with our film is deeply thankful for the tax credit," said Gilroy. Getting the tax credit is great for us and the production community that calls L.A. "In California, we can draw on an unparalleled variety of locations and a deep pool of talent stretching back generations. home."