In 2003, California’s world share of studio films – or, in other words, the movies made by the six biggest studios – was at a healthy 66 percent; by 2008 it had plummeted to a meager 34 percent. To question how Hollywood has slowly become the least popular place to make movies, is to trace the roots back to 1998, when Canada first started to offer incentive tax breaks for producers and crews who were willing to conduct business outside of California. Since then, seven U.S. states, and 24 different countries have begun competing with grants, rebates, and tax credits promising to eliminate as much as 40 percent of the cost for shooting a film.
The reason behind the madness is simple economics; when a monstrous production arrives in any location, there are instantly a few hundred new jobs that pop up out of thin air (which is especially fantastic when the given city doesn’t have the money to build factories). California, which is currently suffering from a hard budget crisis, has managed to get ten feature films shot on location in Los Angeles by using what modest incentive the golden state could muster.
Perhaps the city of L.A. should offer up free gas masks or parking spots to those who do decide to continue making movies in California.