Making Movies New Twist on Economic Development

Article excerpt

All that glitters . . . is not necessarily in Hollywood.

Movies made outside the California film capital have been a shot in the arm for states--at least in short-term economic benefits.

Second only to California (the largest reaper of rewards from the film industry), New York City realized an estimated $2.7 billion in economic impact revenue from 124 movies filmed there in 1990. Florida, which has now mounted an aggressive campaign to lure moviemakers to the state, brought in an estimated $290 million from 42 movies filmed there in 1991.

Others collecting silver from screening included Massachusetts, $209 million from eight movies filmed in the state in 1991; North Carolina, approximately $63.6 million, 18 films; Illinois, $80 million, 17 films; Georgia, $80 million; 27 films; Nevada, $76.9 million, 18 films; New York state (outside New York City), $48 million, 28 films; and Utah, $37.2 million, 17 films--as reported by the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research Inc.

Leading the way in luring Hollywood to the hinterlands are the state-created film commissions designed to market the areas.

An example of the growth of such agencies can be seen in North Carolina, which was the location for such films as "The Color Purple," "Bull Durham," "The Hunt for Red October" and the $46 million "The Last of the Monicans."

Governor James B. Hunt Jr. was tipped off in 1978 by a North Carolina native, who happened to be a Universal Studios vice president, that producers were looking for new locations for movies. By that time, all but five states had established film commissions. Hunt created a North Carolina film office through executive action in 1979.

The film commission has proved successful enough that the North Carolina legislature nearly doubled its budget to $476,000 for FY 1992-93, bringing it in line with Florida, Illinois and Utah film office funding. …