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Productions spent $113M in Wilmington in 2011; more predicted for 2012

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Movie, TV and commercial productions spent more than $113 million on goods and services in the Wilmington area last year, according to the Wilmington Regional Film Commission. The commission expects an even better year in 2012.

"This was the best year we've had since 1998," Wilmington Regional Film Commission Director Johnny Griffin said in a statement.

The Film Commission says it fielded 178 production inquiries, and brought in feature films ranging from "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island," "Arthur Newman, Golf Pro" and "Piranha 3DD." Projects also included TV shows like "One Tree Hill" and "Eastbound and Down," as well as reality shows "Teen Mom 2" and "Swamp Loggers." Projects from Warner, Lionsgate, ABC Family, ABC Television and WBTV all produced in the area during 2011.

The commission says the 2011 numbers represent a 156-percent increase over the $44 million spent in 2010.  The numbers are based on actual dollars spent locally by productions. Griffin says improved tax credits helped create the jump.

"We are thrilled with the results," Griffin said. "In previous years there were projects that wanted to film here, but they couldn't justify it. We just weren't competitive. Now, thanks to the hard work done by our state legislators and governor, productions see our performance-based incentives as strong and stable. We've always had an outstanding crew base and excellent support services, and of course (Screen Gems) studio, and now, it is much easier to build a case for productions to come here."

The commission expects the increase in activity and production spending to continue. Projections reportedly indicate that 2012 will far surpass even 2011's numbers. The commission says there are currently seven projects in production, and it is fielding several serious inquiries for more, including just this week.

"We are definitely hot right now," Griffin said. "We will beat 2011 numbers by mid-year pretty easily. And we have several hundred crew, mostly locals, currently working, and we have productions talking to each other about how soon one will be wrapping so they'll know when those crew members will be available. That is really gratifying. And, there are vendors who are based in California that are considering expanding their businesses here, to our area, because of all the activity. I think that is a good indicator of how the industry is viewing us now."

WILMINGTON REGIONAL FILM COMMISSION, INC.
2011 PRODUCTION TOTALS

TOTAL INQUIRIES: 178
TOTAL PRODUCTION EXPENDITURES: $113,000,000

FEATURES
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (New Line Cinema)
Hick (Independent)
Piranha 3DD (Dimension Films)
Arthur Newman, Golf Pro (Independent)
Caged Heat (Marvel) (prep only)
The Conjuring (New Line Cinema) (prep only)           

TELEVISION
Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song (Warner Premier) - movie                    
Eastbound & Down (HBO) – season 3 - Series            
One Tree Hill (WBTV) – season 8, 7 episodes - Series         
One Tree Hill (WBTV) – season 9, 13 episodes - Series        
Playing With Guns (Lionsgate TV) – Pilot
Teen Spirit (ABC Family) - movie
Revenge (ABC Television) – Pilot
Hart of Dixie (WBTV) – Pilot
Game Time:  Tackling The Past (Proctor & Gamble) – movie
Hallmark Hall of Fame Presents - A Smile As Big As The Moon – (McGee Street Productions) – movie
Hornet’s Nest (TNT)-movie
Teen Mom 2--reality
Swamp Loggers--reality
Extreme Makeover Home Edition--reality

COMMERCIALS
K-Swiss                    
Sci-Fi Network Promo
Battleship
Stock Photography

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Even more money leaving the area....

Just because all this money is spent "in Wilmington" doesn't mean it all benefits the local economy - or even that of anywhere in NC. For example, if you look around when the streets are blocked off for all those red and white Lightnin' trucks, they are all based out of Atlanta. In the story, there's mention of "And, there are vendors who are based in California that are considering expanding their businesses here" Again, based out of California means they do the work here, and are invoiced from California. While they have "expanded" here, they contract and bill from their home base. The money spent has nothing to do with the local economy.
While I'm sure there are more than a few local people that work very hard for this entity, and contribute in every way to the local economy, that $113MM headline is more than just a little misleading.

For another reality check on this, look no further than the NHC tax department's web site. Screen Gems lists their local address as 1223 N. 23rd St. (They're based in New York, so we know where the money spent with them goes) We all know that there's a pretty large property at that address. Looking at http://etax.nhcgov.com/Search/GenericSearch.aspx?mode=ADDRESS
and entering that address shows that there's virtually nothing taxed there. Less than $100,000 in "business equipment" and the comment "MARKET VALUE SHOWN - EXEMPTIONS TO BE REFLECTED IN AUG BILLS". There is NO market value shown.
Sounds like a sweet deal for them. Enough tax credits so we wind up paying them? Good work "state legislators and governor". You've made a new friend, but at what expense?

RE: More money leaving the area

Thank you for taking the time to comment on this story.

I looked into the point you made and have a clarification.
Nothing is showing on New Hanover County's property tax website because the 2012 value for commercial property is not available yet.

The 2011 total assessed value of land and buildings is $10,942,862.00. Also, there are no exemptions on this property.

Regards,
Marcy Cuevas
Reporter/Anchor
WWAY

Ms.Cuevas, I'm not sure

Ms.Cuevas,

I'm not sure whether Rsimmons is demeaning me or the earlier poster. Is it true or not that this property is now owned by the CFPUA??

Look a little deeper into

Look a little deeper into these property records and you will find that Daytime Programming Inc, the former owner of parcel R04807-001-004-000 which is the largest piece of the land recognized as "Screen Gems" was transferred to the Cape Fear Public Utilities Authority back in 2009.

Hmmmmmmmmm.

It's an easement

Try reading the whole document before making a fool of yourself

Rsimmons, are you speaking

Rsimmons, are you speaking of the transfer of this property from the Wilmington City Council to Daytime Programming Inc. dated May 10, 2005? Was that an easement too? ALL you WEASELS and their sycophants are lining their pockets at the expense of this community's taxpayers.

WHORE-rray for WILMY-wood!

Movie magic

You are perfectly correct about how few of the 100 million actually stays here.

Speaking of the millions spent, how are those numbers verified?

Some people...

Some people can never be pleased. Damned if you don't, damned if you do.

But those aren't real jobs!

sarcasm intended.....
You are right GOP. I know probably a dozen people who make a good living either directly or indirectly from the film industry in ILM. Restaurants, heavy equipment and car rentals, carpenters, lumber yards, electricians, hotels and motels all make money off the film industry My wife has been an extra in several movies. One guy I sail with has rented his sailboat out for several shows and commercials. The city also gets fees from filming.