North Carolina doled out $60M in film tax credits in 2014 — here’s what trickled into the Charlotte area

Associate Editor/Online- Charlotte Business Journal

North Carolina saw more than $240 million in direct spending from the film industry in 2014, according to new figures released Thursday by the N.C. Department of Revenue.

That includes more than $134.3 million in wage expenses to support the employment of nearly 8,400 individuals, plus roughly $71 million on qualifying goods and services and $35.2 million more in employee fringe contributions and other spending.

In exchange, the state paid out $60.3 million for tax credits to the production companies behind the more than 30 projects listed on the report. That total is down from the $63.5 million productions received in 2013.

The film tax credit program was replaced this year with a grant initiative that doles out a total of $10 million — all of which has been spoken for.

The biggest spender, according the report, was Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, which spent more than $43 million in eastern North Carolina, earning back nearly $11 million in incentives from the state. However, executives for that show have said, if it is renewed for another season, its production will move to Atlanta this year.

Another television series filmed in the Wilmington area, Under the Dome, was the No. 2 spender listed, driving $35.2 million in spending and earning $8.8 million in credits. That series has already started filming its next season in the state and accounts for half of the grant amounts promised for 2015.

High-profile project titles tied to the Charlotte region that earned credits in 2014 include:

  • $8.76 million for Banshee, a Cinemax series that was filmed largely in Mecklenburg County but has since said it is pulling out of Charlotte, citing better incentives in New Orleans.
  • $7.76 million for Homeland, with production in Mecklenburg County. That Cinemax series has also left town, but its filming was moved overseas due to story lines shifting to the Middle East.
  • $5.84 million for The Longest Ride, with production in Mecklenburg and Rowan counties, among others across the state.
  • $4.66 million for Max, a feature film with production taking place in Mecklenburg, Gaston, Lincoln, Rowan, Cleveland and other counties.
  • $1.15 million for ABC’s Secrets and Lies, with production in Mecklenburg, Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties.
  • $1.10 million for The Novice, a Pacific 2.1 Entertainment Group production in Mecklenburg County.
  • $942,562 for Ashbyan independent film starring Mickey Rourke, which was filmed in Mecklenburg County.
  • A number of smaller projects that received amounts under $200,000 each, including WWE Smackdown, a Lowe’s commercial, a Bojangles’/Pepsi spot and NASCAR-related productions.

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