The trend of local tax incentives luring filmmakers to shoot everywhere from Toronto to Tuscany is nothing new. And it's costing the Los Angeles film industry hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
What is new is that producers are increasingly willing to rewrite scripts in order to fit a cost-effective location, The Wall Street Journal reports. The practice might not inherently lead to troubling creative compromises, but consider what one producer has to say about how tax breaks are impacting his approach to movie-making.
Ingo Volkammer, who's shepherding the big budget action flick “Velocity” with Halle Berry, says he first changed the film's location from Texas to Madrid because the Spanish government offered incentives that would have saved him millions. Then Germany said that if he filmed there — and hired a German director — they'd give him an even bigger break. So he set the movie there.
But when the gap between the euro and the dollar evened out this fall, Europe suddenly became less financially desirable. So Volkammer pounced on Canadian incentives, set the film in Montreal and hired a German director so he could still cash in on some incentives from Germany. The film's budget, once $25 million, is now $15 million.
“I realized I can't be too fussy about the creative elements of my movies,” Vollkammer tells the Journal.
Indeed. Perhaps Hollywood has prized creativity above all else for too long.