There is much to consider in finding the perfect location to shoot a movie and the states each offer lucrative lures to choose their location. Substantial state tax credits are usually granted that for the Hollywood movie industry translates to big bucks. With a budget of $160 million The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, filmed in Louisiana as a stand-in for England, were awarded tax credits that amounted to over $27 million. As part of the agreement between Warner Bros. and Paramount with the state of Louisiana special effect work done outside of Louisiana was also applied to this tax credit.
With Louisiana luring Hollywood movies with such highly lucrative deals it’s no surprise that at the end of the day Louisiana didn’t benefit in nearly the same way that Hollywood did. In 2006 Louisiana handed out $121 million tax credits to the movie industry, some of which may have provided a bribe to be eligible. Incentives were offered by more than forty states by 2008, with over 70 productions meeting the tax credit criteria in Louisiana alone it is no wonder the states each want a piece of the pie. With luring credits ranging from 15% to 25% of a movies budget production companies have leverage in the battle for perfect lucrative locations.
Hollywood is talented at locating lucrative deals wherever they may be – case in point, Pay-TV. In what now seems like a distant past, when DVD’s were a futuristic thought and VHS movies could not be purchased, only be rented pay-TV channels were a huge market with rights to individual movies averaging $10 million – Ghostbusters went for a whopping $30 million and helped to set a $12.5 million dollar cap that the channels were willing to pay for exclusive rights. Another lucrative set up for the studios since almost all of the revenue gained from leasing the movie rights comes back to them, a $1.1 billion dollar payout in 2000.
Digital downloads are changing the way consumers view movies and TV series and subscriptions to pay channels are leveling off. As a result the studios are losing some of their leverage with the channels purchasing rights to fewer Hollywood movies and filling airtime with their own programming.
In an ever changing market Hollywood has always found a way to come out on top, weather it is a luring lucrative location or a profitable deal there is no doubt that the favour is in Hollywood’s hands.