Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Keep the cameras rolling

Chicago Tribune | November 11, 2008

Last summer's Batman saga, "The Dark Knight," was a worldwide hit and a boon to Chicago, where it was filmed. The production spent some $40 million locally.

"The Dark Knight" was part of a very good year on screen for Chicago. Vince Vaughn's "Fred Claus," Angela Bassett's "Meet the Browns," and Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman's "Wanted" were also shot here.

All told, the film industry spent a record $155 million in Illinois in 2007, generating about $390 million in economic activity and employing thousands of people.

This year will be nowhere near as good and next year looks bleak.

There are a lot of factors that determine where a film is shot. But there is one that Illinois can significantly influence: the cost of doing business here.

Illinois provides a 20 percent tax incentive for film productions, but some competing states and cities provide more. (Michigan created a 42 percent credit this year and New York provides a 35 percent break.)


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