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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Local leaders are asking state leaders to call lawmakers back to Raleigh to discuss film incentives.

Members of the New Hanover County Commission and Wilmington City Council signed a joint letter to Gov. Pat McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger yesterday asking them to call for a special legislative session to “reconsider film incentives that will better serve North Carolina in remaining marketable and competitive” in the film industry.

“For over three decades, our region has served as a hub for film in North Carolina and the United States,” the letter reads. “This clean and innovative industry and the numerous video, television and film productions it generates bring great notoriety and revenue to both our region and the state. However, the lack of action by the General Assembly to sustain a strong incentive program puts in jeopardy this existing industry, state and local economies, associated investments, infrastructure, tourism, and many varied direct and indirect jobs.”

Along with the letter, leaders sent copies of the New Hanover County video “Economic Development – the Film Industry” was included with each letter.

The state budget adopted last month makes significant changes and cuts to the current film incentive plan. Critics of it say it could lead to the death of North Carolina’s film industry, which has included numerous movies and TV shows, many of which shot in and around Wilmington.

A spokesman for the governor says there is no update on calling a special session.


Comment on this Story

  • machiavel

    I’ll just leave this here…..

    The first reviews are in and they’re bad: The audience walked out. The sequels may be worse. Somebody needs to rewrite the script. Fast.

    When state lawmakers decided they didn’t like economic-development incentives, and they especially hated giving them to the film industry, there were dire predictions about what would happen if they killed them.

    They killed them anyway. Just a few weeks from the General Assembly’s adjournment, the first of the dire predictions came to pass. More are coming.

    WCNC in Charlotte reports that production of the cable TV show “Banshee” is pulling out of Charlotte and heading to New Orleans. The change is a direct result of lawmakers’ decision to let North Carolina’s film-industry tax credits die.

    The action-drama series first appeared on the Cinemax network. City officials say at least four other shows were considering shooting in Charlotte but dropped the city after the legislature refused to reauthorize the incentive program.

    The bottom line for Charlotte: an estimated $40 million loss. That’s a lot of popcorn. How much more business will we lose before ideologue lawmakers see that the game may stink, but we’ve got to play it if we want to prosper?

    Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/08/29/4106312_a-40-million-loss-as-film-crew.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

  • Theresa

    You you idiot, I’m responding to you whoever you are and your other fake name you write under. What do you know about my business? Come our of the shadows and come over to the office and have a talk. You are spouting off false facts about my company and employees you know nothing about. You are angered over the truth and I would bet you are a person who is sucking the system as dry as you can. And apologies to Johnny Griffin for the typo in the post., but you should feel great I know how to spell your name……… L-O-S-E-R.

  • Vog46

    That targeted incentives don’t work:


    Why did Texas win? They bid HALF what NC did.
    “North Carolina’s offer had to be significantly larger than Texas to be competitive because the Lone Star State has no corporate or income tax, Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker said in an interview last week. Companies on the move compare the total cost of its new site and the total financial package offered to coax them, Decker said.”

    Individual and industry incentives DO NOT WORK !!!!!
    Offer lowered income and corporate taxes – THAT WORKS.
    Living breathing examples right in front of your eyes.

    It is time. time to start this insanity on film incentives and incentives in general. Texas is unique in that they have oil income to play with that allows for having no income or corporate taxes. This allows them to be VERY competitive.
    NC on the other hand has a projected revenue shortfall and no other incomes streams from fracking and or oil drilling.
    But even the Texas Legislature is concerned about Perrys incentive programs:

    Indeed, NC isn’t looking at it this way. $100,000,000 for 3000 jobs seems too steep at $33,333 per job. Again we need to look at lowering corporate taxes, and income taxes. the question is where will we get the money to make up that loss?

    The “hits” to film industry supporters arguments just keep on coming.


  • Heimie Schmelter

    DAK is a mexico based company. They shut down operations here for cheaper labor. Can you imagine the Mexicans doing that? Nahhhhh…

    Mundy Maintenance, they had an extensive maintenance contract at DAK and lost those jobs just like the DAK employees, not needed. Mundy also lost their GE contract due to being outbid by a competitor to provide those services. Rampage Yachts is simply another one of the hundreds of boat builders that have gone under because of the very weak economy. In case most of you haven’t noticed the “yacht market” both new and used, is in a very deep ditch and has been for years. Another luxury industry that goes to sleep when the economy does. But no, you didn’t see a single film supporter stand up and complain about any of the job losses that fell outside of their venue! Never have, never will.

    These were all legitimate business enterprises and they did not depend on incentives even close to what that dollar sucking film industry is grabbing. These film people know what they’re getting and how easy it is. The state realizes it is a negative revenue hole. The gravy train is over in NC!

  • Rusty

    In no way did I call out Vog on his well thought out postings, don’t put that slur on me. He has his opinion as do I; yes there are many causes deserving (well probably not) gov’t $ and this is a hot button topic. Defend some of those as he has in the past..

  • Vog46

    You think this is against the people working here?
    Apparently you haven’t read my postings close enough.

    So – if filming should be greatly reduced would it be because of NC getting rid of the current incentive plan? Or California INCREASING theirs to $371M?????
    If film supporters are right then filming will move back to CA because that’s where they’ll get the most $ – thereby screwing the workers here, in SC, GA, and LS.
    NC politicians capped the incentive – CA politicians just drove a stake through SEVERAL states incentive programs.
    There’s a “tone of illegitimacy” for you – being done in by their own industry cohorts……..


  • Guest2020

    Are you really saying that since NC wastes money in other ways, that they should just go ahead and waste money on the film incentives?

    Are you saying that we should waste money just to buy pride? Should the taxpayers shell out money they don’t have just so you can have bragging rights?

    You are wrong in your assumption about Vog not speaking to other wasteful programs. He was adamantly opposed to the stadium and he put as much time and energy into researching that issue has he has with this one.

  • Machiavel

    They do indeed pay- the only kickback they get, or rather used to get, is the 25% tax rebate. Other than that they function like every other business. The unemployed workers do not suddenly get unemployment and welfare, the system is much more complex than that. The assumption that film workers will somehow operate differently than other workers is plainly unfair. Like anyone else, when they are out of a job they will seek other work. This tone of illegitimacy because they are craftspeople in an industry that you don’t like is troubling. I don’t happen to like soccer, should I say that the people that choose to play it professionally are idiots? I respect what they do, it just isn’t for me. I would suggest you give the hard working people in that industry a break. If they wanted to play the system, there are far better ways of doing than working in the arts.

  • Vog46

    Even Georgia is going to lose out now:

    Bill to triple California film tax credits clears the Legislature

    By RICHARD VERRIER contact the reporter Laws and LegislationCredit and DebtTaxation
    California Senate approves film tax credit bill to increase incentives to $330 million a year for five years
    A bill that would more than triple funding for California’s film and TV tax credit program was overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate and Assembly on Friday.

    The Senate, as expected, on Friday approved by a 32-to-2 vote legislation that would increase funding for the state’s film incentives to $330 million a year for five years, a substantial boost from the $100 million a year currently allocated under the film program.

    The bill also cleared the Assembly by a 72-to-0 vote.

    The vote comes two days after Gov. Jerry Brown signaled his support for the bill as part of a last-minute compromise hashed out with the state’s legislative leaders.

    The law is intended to make California more competitive with rival states such as New York, Georgia and Louisiana that have gained a larger share of the movie and TV business in the last decade.

    In addition to boosting funding, the bill allows more projects to qualify for subsidies, including big-budget studio movies and new network dramas and television pilots.

    It also would phase out a lottery system that is used to select applicants for tax credits. Instead, projects would be selected based on how many jobs they would create.

    The funding would take effect in July 2015, and it will go to Brown’s desk for his signature sometime next month.

    So even IF NC were to have the same old incentive program that we did before it would be woefully inadequate based upon what California is doing. So, should NC outbid CA?
    Why did CA do this? Quite frankly, they have the funds. The fracking boom in CA, and their economy has recovered. We are facing a huge revenue shortfall which may have been self induced. We could argue that point ad nauseum.

    So should NC, GA, and Sc RAISE the bar even higher to compete with CA? Or did CA just demolish the film industries in those states with this HUGE increase?
    This is a war that shouldn’t be fought. It is a race to the bottom.
    In spite of it all there is still NO EVIDENCE to show that film incentives produce and economic benefit.
    Yet some states continue on with this type of activity.
    This has nothing to do with economics anymore. CA just made it political.
    NC may have gone in the right direction, at the right time.


  • 8844

    OK, I’ll be the first one to admit that I just don’t get it. Why do we place such a high value on anyone who manages to get his or her face exposed to others on a TV or movie screen? What makes that so much more important than so many other things? Like I said “I don’t get it”, but apparently the movie and TV industry really does. They have totally convinced many of you that this is where it’s at. If that wasn’t really the case, the term “Reality Star” wouldn’t even exist. If that wasn’t the case, the film industry would never have had the temerity to begin playing one area of the country against another for extortion money in the first place. In my humble opinion, this has got to stop. It’s time to get back to the America where real values are appreciated instead of some of the phony values that are being sold to us by money-making industries.

    Having said that, your post now becomes one of those lines in the sand. It becomes one crazy “value” too far.

    I can think of NO sane reason whatsoever why I should spend MY money so that YOU can LIKE having your “online friends know that their favorite shows or movies were filmed here.”

  • 10101

    The above poster used an actual name (looks like you just throw out that “hiding” thing regardless) and never even mentioned Johnny Griffin (as knowledgeable as you claim to be about film, one would think you’d be able to at least spell his name correctly).

    Looks like you’ve just upped your bull droppings ante yet once again. Now, if you don’t support continuing incentives, you’re not only against supporting our American troops, you’re also against prior (which I guess means retired) law enforcement officers and seniors who need to supplement their incomes? Are you sure you didn’t leave anyone out, or are you just waiting for your next post to add some more? Maybe you can also figure out some way to say that we’re all against our own mothers, the Fourth of July, apple pie and the American flag as well. You might as well; you’ve already decided to say ANYTHING you can, as long as it might preserve your own personal income.

    The bottom line is pretty obvious: You employ people on an occasional part-time basis as security guards. By occasionally working for you, they are marginally able to augment their income. You pay them very little and keep a considerable portion of what you rent them out for as your personal profit. While they all make next to nothing working for you, when you add up all of the little profits from renting them, YOU make a full time living. That’s what you’re REALLY trying to protect.

    You could have taken the high road and just inferred that losing incentives will hurt your company’s bottom line. You didn’t. You chose instead to try the quick and dirty approach. That pretty much puts you in a class by yourself; the no-class class.

    To quote yourself in this post: “No limits, no character, blah,blah,blah”

  • Vog46

    Georgia law does not allow the state of Georgia to release any information as to the effectiveness of their film incentives so neither film supporters nor film detractors can claim that Georgia benefits or suffers from film incentives.
    keep trying though
    Ever thought of opening a branch office in georgia – this would benefit you and your part timers…..


  • joshjenkins

    How is it that Georgia –a Republican RED state–gets that FILM=JOBS and our so-called representatives, Rick Catlin, Chris Millis and Governor McCrory DON’T? Are they ALL getting backdoor money from Georgia? Catlin is from Georgia after all!

    NC was once THIRD in film production after CA and NY. Our politicians have let jobs and businesses literally fall into our competitors laps. Shame on them.


  • Vog46

    the workers pay in to UI – but do pass through out of state corporations pay? If they are indeed tax free do they pay into the UI system?
    I don’t believe they do – which is another “give me” for the industry.

    I’m intrigued as well……

  • Vog46

    I have at times gotten on my high horse against CERTAIN wasteful spending projects – including the ballpark and film incentives, both of which are local stories.

    On the other hand where were film supporters when the employees of DAK, Mundy Maintenance, and Rampage Yachts lost their jobs? This is a sword that cuts both ways. To rail that filming and filming only affects the local economy to the exclusion of all other job losses is disingenuous and self serving at best.


  • Concerned

    Why haven’t you reported on Sleepy Hollow heading to Chicago after this season? Seems like big news to me.

  • Rusty

    Ok; all states do some incentives that “may” not be sound, is it really so bad that ours is for film? I’d rather still be known as Hollywood East than “yeah we build KIAs here”. Pride isn’t something you can easily attach a Dollar figure to but I like that my online friends know that their favorite shows or movies were filmed here.

    There are a lot of other programs that are not economically viable, why do so many jump on this one? (Assuming it is) Start looking at other wasteful programs and put the same vitriol and energy into those and maybe we’d be on track to a better budget..

  • Theresa

    Bet Georgis is happy about our stupid selfish politicians

  • Vog46

    Texas Legislators are questoning incentives:


    “Texas has given out more than $500 million from the Enterprise Fund — and hundreds of millions of dollars more in local property tax breaks — to entice businesses to the Lone Star State. But many legislators there now question why Texas has paid so much to companies that account for a tiny fraction of the state’s job growth.

    Outside groups for years have alleged that Perry has overstated the number of jobs created; failed to recoup money from companies that break job-creation promises; and steered funds toward well-connected campaign donors.

    The Texas Enterprise Fund showered $40 million this year on Toyota Motor Corp. when the company announced plans to move its North American headquarters from Torrance to Plano.”

    Um yeah – incentive are NOT such a great idea.
    Now Texas DOES have another advantage – oil revenues which allows for LOWERED tax rates for all but the Legislature is questioning this now.
    As they will in Gerogia
    SC already tried to get rid of incentives but the LEgislature over roded Sanfords veto – even after a scathing report about incentives from that university economics professor.
    Film incentives are part economic but blatantly political incentives.
    They are a colossal waste of taxpayer monies.


  • Machiavel

    Yes, other industries don’t get 25% back, they get more- Auto(GM), Banking(Wells Fargo, B of A, Fracking, and your beloved Walmart….why don’t you just admit you hate the perceived liberal threat that the film industry represents.

  • Machiavel

    And where was your outrage then? BTW ever try to live off of unemployment? I seem to remember something related to this, oh that’s right the unemployment insurance that these workers have been paying into….keep up with the magical numbers and magical thinking, I’m intrigued.

  • Vog46


    Pg 2 Fiscal return per $1 credit: State…………State & Local

    THATS the savings.
    And I happen to believe the FRD numbers were generous – some studies indicate that states only get as low as 0.19 for every dollar invested.

    Now will revenues decrease? Sure – they have to. Film workers WILL collect unemployment even though they say they don’t know anyone that does, but given the average unemployment numbers for film workers is at 10% nationwide I’d venture a guess to say they will file for UI bennys – besides they want to prove a point – so they will do ANYTHING at this point to satisfy their desire to somehow “punish” the state and paint the picture much bleaker that it will be.

    This is the sign of a group of VERY arrogant people who think they are above everyone else. They need to talk to the workers from DAK, Rampage Yachts, and the thousands of banking folks who lost jobs in Charlotte over the last few years. There were no “massive photo’s” no special sessions of the Legislature, and no “continuous” tax breaks for many of their industries – so why should film folks get all of this?


  • Machiavel

    Well the anti-incentive lobby won, so I guess we can all expect to see our lives change for the better. The state coffers should be over flowing with cash now that liberal Hollywood is not robbing the people of NC. Oh yeah, that’s right all the money that has been hypothetically saved never existed in the first place. Congrats you’ve proven nothing.

  • Theresa

    No limits, no character, blah,blah,blah. You do an awful lot of talking and preaching about your beliefs while hiding behind in the shadows in fear that people will link what you are with who you are. You speak down about people like Iohnny Griffith , the film community and me but we are the people who have put ourselves out there for the community. You seem offended by the fact I mention my military men and women being out of jobs but I am one of the ones that deal with them coming into my office still not comfortable with dealing with civilian life. And if you think for a moment people are falling over themselves to hire these hero’s you need to get better educated with the real world. If it offends you senses that it pisses me off to see them get the shaft because a handful of politicians don’t give a dam well I really don’t care. But if that bothers you then here’s another fact… I will probably be left to terminate a few prior law enforcement officers and seniors who are supplementing their incomes. You are right about “No Limits”. There are none when it comes to the fall out not having a film incentive will cause. Not just for my people or my company or me. There are a lot of companies that will suffer far more.But as long as your comfortable ,screw everyone else I guess. Glad I can’t compare my moral character to yours.

    Sent from my iPad

  • James Mandal

    After reading some of the posts below, it comes as no surprise to me that you would threaten the taxpayers of NC with additional burdens, by turning others on to the concept of taking handouts from others. Apparently, you have allowed yourself to become very qualified in this area.

    When I combine the contents of this post with your unapologetic implication below that anyone against continuing incentives is against supporting out American soldiers, one thing becomes very apparent: You have given yourself the freedom of having no limits on trying to get what you want, regardless of the concepts of right and wrong.

    Unfortunately, these posts of yours really do speak volumes about your character. Very sad.

    (Please save us all from another one of your mindless non-specific responses about cowards and testicles in jars by just not replying to this post. Thanks.)

  • Vog46


    “ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A time few could imagine during the not-too-distant glory days of casino gambling has arrived in Atlantic City, where two casinos will close this weekend and a third will shut down in two weeks.

    More than 5,000 workers will lose their jobs in an unprecedented weekend in the seaside gambling resort, leaving many feeling betrayed by a system that once promised stable, well-paying jobs.

    The Showboat is closing Sunday, followed by Revel on Monday and Tuesday. Trump Plaza is next, closing Sept. 16. To the thousands who will be left behind, it still seems unreal.

    “We never thought this would happen,” said Chris Ireland, who has been a bartender at the Showboat since it opened. His wife works there, too, as a cocktail server. Before dinnertime Sunday, neither will have a job.

    What makes it even tougher to swallow is that the Showboat – one of four Atlantic City casinos owned by Caesars Entertainment – is still turning a profit. But the company says it is closing Showboat to help reduce the total number of casinos in Atlantic City. Caesars also teamed with Tropicana Entertainment to buy the Atlantic Club last December and close it in January.

    “They just want to eliminate competition,” Ireland said. “Everyone’s in favor of a free market until it doesn’t exactly work for them.”

    Yet many analysts and casino executives say the painful contraction now shrinking Atlantic City’s casino market is exactly what the city needs to survive. Since 2006, Atlantic City’s casino revenue has fallen from $5.2 billion to $2.86 billion last year, and it will fall further this year. Atlantic City will end the year with eight casinos after beginning the year with 12.

    New casinos popping up in an already saturated Northeastern U.S. gambling market aren’t expanding the overall pie but are slicing it into ever-smaller pieces. Fewer casinos could mean better financial performance for the survivors.

    Resorts Casino Hotel, which was on the verge of closing a few years ago, completed a remarkable turnaround in the second quarter of this year, swinging from a $1.3 million loss last year to a $1.9 million profit this year.

    “I truly believe that eight remaining casinos can all do very well when the gambling market is right-sized,” said Resorts president Mark Giannantonio.

    That may be true, but it is little comfort to workers who are losing their jobs. By the time Trump Plaza shuts down in two weeks, nearly 8,000 jobs – or a quarter of Atlantic City’s casino workforce – will be unemployed. A mass unemployment filing due to begin Wednesday is so large it has been booked into the city’s convention center.

    When casino gambling was approved by New Jersey voters in 1976, it was billed as a way to revitalize Atlantic City and provide stable, lasting jobs. The first casino, Resorts, opened in 1978, kicking off three decades of soaring revenue and employment.

    But the Great Recession hit just as new casinos were popping up in neighboring Pennsylvania and New York, cutting deeply into Atlantic City’s customer base.

    “There was a promise when casinos came in here that these would be good, viable jobs, something you could raise your family on and have a decent life with,” said Paul Smith, a cook at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. “I feel so bad for all these people losing their jobs. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.”

    Mayor Don Guardian says his city is remaking itself as a more multifaceted destination, where gambling is only part of the allure. But he acknowledges the pain this weekend will bring.

    “This is going to be a difficult few weeks for many of us in Atlantic City,” he said. “People will lose their jobs, and that is never good news. Our hearts go out to our neighbors and friends. We still have difficult waters to navigate.”


    Perhaps they should take a “Massive” picture?

    Hire Johnny Griffith to solicit for government funds?


  • Vog46

    How much of this will be blamed on loss of film incentives?


    It’s not just you. Nobody has seen a good movie lately.

    Or at least if they have, it isn’t in a theater. Ticket sales to movie theaters in the U.S. and Canada are expected to sink to about $3.9 billion, a 15 percent decline when compared to summer of 2013, according to box office company Rentrak. In July, box office sales were down 30 percent, the New York Times reports.

    For the first time in 13 years, no summer film netted $300 million in ticket sales domestically. Not even Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the highly-anticipated superhero film that led this summer’s box office sales, could save the summer. And as Vox notes, a dry summer is an especially hefty hit. Summer is when the film industry banks on people heading to theaters, typically producing the greatest months of ticket sales.

    It wasn’t just the summer’s top-selling flicks that disappointed. Flops were plentiful. Sylvester Stallone’s “The Expendables 3,” the star-studded “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” the critically-touted “Edge of Tomorrow,” “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” and Cameron Diaz’s saucy “Sex Tape,” all fell short of expectations. And don’t forget about the sequels! The summer had plenty of them, but audiences weren’t having much to do with them. Sales to “Transformers: Age of Extinction, “Planes: Fire & Rescue,” “Think Like a Man Too,” and “Amazing Spider-Man 2” saw declines in sales compared to previous summer’s installments, the New York Times reports.

    Analysts had predicted a drop due to new entertainment options such as online streaming, marquee television events like the World Cup, and scuttled movie release plans. But the worst summer in box office ticket sales since 1997 caught analysts and the industry off guard. “It’s a noticeable difference,” Phil Contrino, the chief analyst at BoxOffice.com told Vox, adding, “We really needed more films that ended up in the $80 million-$150 million range domestically. That would have helped compensate for the tentpoles that ended up underperforming slightly.”

    While the film industry may try to brush off the poor showing with the argument that the movie making business is more concerned with global markets these days, overseas sales don’t pack the box office punch of domestic sales. The New York Times notes that in China, Hollywood sees as little as 25 percent of box office sales, compared to 50 percent from sales in the U.S.

    Is the dearth of summer hits a fluke? “The movie industry is cyclical, and we’re definitely in a down year, but that has a lot to do with the fact that 2015’s slate is so impressive,” industry analyst Contrino told Vox. “Many of the strongest franchises are lined up for 2015, and 2014 has suffered as a result.”

    But does that mean movie goers will lineup? Or are they already settled in to stream “Game Of Thrones” from the comfort of their own couch?
    Feature film production is down from a decade ago if I remember correctly……..
    So do other industries get hand outs from the government when their business goes bad?
    Do other industries get 25% of their operating budgets given back to them?


  • Theresa

    I am more then willing and have made available to my employees who are losing there jobs applications for state aid, welfare, food stamps, New Hanover Regional Charity Care.Looks like a lot of people are going to be in need,not just my prior employees but people that counted on the film industry. Wonder what is going to happen to our taxes? Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My

  • trash

    The film industry is a thing of the past. Pack it up and move on. Let’s get something here that will make some real money. Build something like Walnut Creek.

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