Steven Soderbergh, Reese Witherspoon to shoot new projects in California thanks to tax credits

By Annlee Ellingson  –  Staff Reporter, L.A. Biz Mar 1, 2021, 1:14pm EST

The California Film Commission announced a slew of movies that will film in the Golden State thanks to tax credits, including projects from Jason Bateman, the Coen brothers, Evan Longoria, Steven Soderbergh, and Reese Witherspoon.

In all, 22 films — 11 studio and 11 independent — have been selected to receive nearly $87 million in combined incentives through the Film & TV Tax Credit Program.

Universal was especially active this round, nabbing three of the four largest awards, including $10.7 million for the Witherspoon-produced “Ashley’s War,” about women inserted with Special Ops teams in Afghanistan; more than $12 million for an untitled live-action project; and nearly $10 million for the Coen brothers-scripted “Scarface” remake.

Netflix snagged two awards, including nearly $14 million for Bateman’s heist flick “Here Comes the Flood” and $7.6 million for the Kevin Hart comedy “Me Time.”

Other projects receiving incentives include director Longoria’s “Flamin’ Hot,” about the creator of the spicy Cheetos snack, and director Soderbergh’s “Kimi” starring Zoë Kravitz for HBO Max.

The selected productions are expected to generate an estimated $430 million in qualified expenditures including below-the-line wages and payments to in-state vendors. That doesn’t include above-the-line payments and other expenditures that do not qualify for tax credits under the incentive program.

Nine projects were selected through the program’s $10 million-and-under qualified spending category, which was recently added to set aside credits specifically for lower-budget independent films, including “Scandalous!” — a Sammy Davis Jr. romance starring Jeremy Pope that earned a $2.5 million tax credit on $9.95 million in qualified spending.

The projects are expected to employ an estimated 2,546 crew, 695 cast and more than 26,000 background actors/stand-ins over a combined 718 shoot days in California, in addition to “significant” post-production jobs and revenue for VFX artists, sound editors, sound mixers, musicians and other workers/vendors.

“The tax credit projects announced today are on track to generate thousands of high-wage jobs and an estimated $642 million in overall in-state spending, with more than $430 million going to below-the-line workers and in-state vendors,” said California Film Commission Executive Director Colleen Bell in a statement.

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