As television production continues to ramp up in Hollywood and coronavirus cases surge in America, Hunters and The Right Stuff are heading out West, thanks to some very generous tax credits from the state of California.
Amazon Prime’s Nazi chasing series and the latest adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s space race novel from Disney+ are the 21st and 22nd shows to relocate to the Golden State since the California Film Commission-run program was raised to $330 million annually in 2014.
In fact, after the $24.7 million allocated to Showtime’s now cancelled Penny Dreadful: City of Angels in 2018, the $18.8 million given to the second season of the formerly New York-based Hunters is the second largest relocating TV series tax credit award ever.
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With the third season of Lucifer having received $16.8 million, the not officially renewed The Right Stuff has been given $13.7 million to move from Florida to California. That makes the Leonardo DiCaprio EP’d NASA series the fourth highest awarded relocating show ever under the CFC program.
Having ended its first season with the unveiling and death of Al Pacino’s character and the revelation of a certain dictator still alive in South America, Hunters was given a second season by Amazon back in August.
On the other hand, despite the pretty big sum from the state of California, Disney+ has not yet given The Right Stuff the go ahead for lift-off of a second season. Debuting on the House of Mouse streamer on October 9, the Mark Lafferty developed show hasn’t exactly soared with subscribers, I hear.
Only open to relocating and recurring AKA legacy series, the latest application period ran from September 28 -30 for the former category and October 5 – 7 for the latter. The upcoming seasons of This Is Us, Westworld, Good Girls, and Star Trek Picard were also among the other shows that shared in the allocation with Hunters and The Right Stuff.
All of which means, with 88 shoot days planned for in and around San Diego, Disney+ may have been hedging their bets to see if they were awarded the tax incentives before bringing back The Right Stuff. Conversely, tax incentives have in the past gone to projects that never ended up getting made – a fact made all the more acute by potential restrictions due to COVID-19. If it is the case that a project doesn’t happen, the award simply gets cycled into the next upcoming allocation period.
Assuming everything is a go for both the second seasons of Hunters and The Right Stuff, the Amazon series is estimated by the CFC to bring in $75.2 million in qualified expenditures and the Disney+ show will generate $51.8 million in below-the-line wages, vendors and the like. Those expectations do not consider above-the-line expenditures and more that are not qualified for tax credit consideration.
With jobs as the true goal for the 3.0 version of the incentives program, Hunters Season 2 is factored to have 107 shooting days in California. Even with coronavirus safety protocols in place, the production plans on hiring 3852 extras, 267 cast members and a crew of 160. The Right Stuff Season 2 is aiming to hire 2204 background players, 173 cast members and a crew of 214.
And now for some more math.
If you are marking your calendars, note that the next tax credit application period for the small screen is set for March 15 – 22, 2021. As the COVID-19 crisis sees most movie theaters across the country still shuddered, the next application period for big screen projects is set for January 25 – February 1 next year.