The tranche of seven different awards came amid a marathon of different state subsidies and other relief programs and economic proposals heard Dec. 8 by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority at its last board meeting of 2021.
The board is not scheduled to meet again until Feb. 9, 2022.
Gov. Phil Murphy first enacted the media incentive program in 2018 after it went offline several years earlier. It compensates production companies via tax incentives for the costs of filming here, hiring workers in-state and buying New Jersey-made goods and services.
Many production companies have cited the tax credit program as a significant factor in their decision to pick New Jersey, in addition to both the proximity – and being a cheaper alternative to – New York City, and a diversity of landscapes urban, rural and scenic.
“It’s allowed us in the industry to continue to employ people in the Garden State and use vendors and become a catalyst for growth during this bad time,” Angela Miele, an executive with the Motion Picture Association, said this week.
Since 2018, Murphy approved several expansions of the subsidy program, which loosened the rules and allowed for more lucrative awards. A new expansion is again currently being considered during the lame duck session.
It’s allowed us in the industry to continue to employ people in the Garden State and use vendors and become a catalyst for growth during this bad time. – – Angela Miele, executive with the Motion Picture Association
As of Feb. 23, the state awarded nearly $104 million to productions to the Garden State. Other awards granted since then include the largest under the program: $33 million to NBCUniversal Television for its season one production of the drama series “The Equalizer.”
Newark-based Audible was approved in November for a $7 million tax credit for several of its digital media productions in the audiobook realm.
The biggest award approved Wednesday was for $21.8 million to Pacific 2.1 Entertainment Group for its production season 2 of the Hulu series “Wu Tang: An American Saga,” which entailed $80.2 million spent for production across Passaic, Essex and Hudson counties, as well as $7.2 million in post-production expenses, and nearly $59 million spent on goods and services from New Jersey businesses.
Another award of $14 million was approved to ABC Signature NJ for its production of season one of the mystery series “Emergence,” which was filmed in 2019 in Secaucus for a nearly $43.9 million price tag.
A $5.9 million award was approved to The Perfect Movie Productions, for its production of the Netflix romantic comedy “The Perfect Find.” Film executives spent $24 million for filming across Newark this year: $17.5 million for New Jersey-based goods and services, and $1.56 million on post-production expenses.
Meanwhile $3.56 million was awarded to PS203 New Jersey for its production of the biographical film “Spinning Gold;” ASATMU The Film was awarded $1.19 million for its production of the drama film “As Sick As They Made Us;” and $1.1 million was awarded to Lucky 8 TV for its production of the docu-series “Empires of Excess.”
Another $890,904.80 was awarded to the Jersey City-based Malka Media Group, which produces documentaries, shows and podcasts, and develops ad campaigns across multiple media platforms.
Made in New Jersey
The program has been used to pick up some of the tab for 30 productions, including for “Joker,” which was shot in Newark; Steven Speilberg’s “West Side Story,” filmed in Paterson; Netflix’s “Army of the Dead” and “The All Stars,” filmed in Atlantic City; Universal Television’s Production of season one of “The Enemy Within,” and production of the HBO drama series “The Plot Against America,” set in Newark but filmed in Jersey City.
Meanwhile, producers such as Netflix are reportedly eyeing the former Fort Monmouth Army base to set up shop, while NBC Universal uses the former Meadowlands Arena for its film productions.
A new film studio opened in Jersey City this fall, and filmmakers have also gravitated toward the 130-acre Kearny Point site, a sprawling office complex and business center at the site of a former military shipyard in Hudson County.
NBC’s drama series “Law and Order: Organized Crime” is being filmed in Edison, Newark and Wayne. And a remake of the 2014 film “Goodnight Mommy,” filmed in Bedminster, will feature actress Naomi Watts in a lead role.
“This really is a gold rush,” film executive Tom Bernard said in an April interview. He’s currently co-president and co-founder of Sony Pictures, and sits on the board of the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission, which coordinates productions and reviews applications for state subsidies.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]