Gov. Phil Murphy spent the weekend in Hollywood, Calif. where he rolled out the red carpet to film, television and media companies putting a spotlight on New Jersey as the next big location for filming and production.
His tour comes less than a year after he signed the Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act, which established a set of tax breaks for production companies who set up shop in New Jersey.
“New Jersey has a rich history as a filming location dating back to Thomas Edison’s invention of the kinetoscope,” Murphy said in a statement.
The governor met with executives from NBC Universal, Warner Brothers, Disney, Netflix, Paramount and Sony, touting that New Jersey has already served as filming locations for such films including The Godfather, Independence Day and War of the Worlds.
Our financial incentives, diversity of locations, and unparalleled accessibility make New Jersey a truly unique place to film a motion picture.
It is not immediately clear whether those companies have plans to expand their operations in New Jersey, but last month several of them, as well as the Motion Picture Association of America, participated in the “Diversity in Film and Television Production Forum,” where they discussed the attractiveness of some of New Jersey’s media production opportunities.
“In our meetings with the studio executives and talent agents, we hope to highlight not only that history but also our renewed commitment to the film industry,” the governor added. “Our financial incentives, diversity of locations, and unparalleled accessibility make New Jersey a truly unique place to film a motion picture.”
Former-Gov. Chris Christie allowed a much smaller version of the film tax credits to expire in 2011, citing worries about the costs. The program fizzled out for good in 2015.
Under the law Murphy signed last summer, film companies apply for tax breaks for up to 30 percent of their production expenses between 2019 and 2023, or 35 percent if they film in South Jersey.
The South Jersey bonus – for Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer or Salem counties – was inserted out of concerns that companies would otherwise stick to production in the North Jersey counties surrounding New York City.
Digital companies can apply to tax breaks up to 20 percent, or 25 percent if they set up shop in South Jersey
Film tax credits are capped at $75 million a year while digital media tax breaks are capped at $10 million a year.
Agendas for the board meetings of the Economic Development Authority, which oversees the film tax credit program, have not shown any applicants for the tax breaks.