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Michael Jackson biopic to spend a record $120 million in California under state tax credit program


A Lionsgate Entertainment movie about the life of singer Michael Jackson is on track to break records for spending under California’s movie tax credit program.

The movie known as “Michael” — directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Jackson’s cousin Jaafar Jackson — is expected to spend $120 million in crew wages and vendors, according to the California Film Commission, which administers the movie and TV tax credit program of the United States. the state manages.

California allocated $21.1 million in tax credits to the Santa Monica-based studio for “Michael.” That’s more than other top publishers in the state’s feature film tax credit program from previous years, including Walt Disney Co.’s “Captain Marvel” ($119 million) Paramount’s “Bumblebee” ($102 million) and Netflix’s ‘The Gray Man’ ($102 million).

Michael Jackson, known as the King of Pop, passed away in 2009 at the age of 50. The trailblazing singer’s later years were marked by allegations of boy sexual abuse that became the subject of the documentary “Leaving Neverland”. Jackson and his estate have repeatedly and adamantly denied the allegations.

There have recently been other commercially successful retellings of the singer’s career. Like the 2021 Broadway show ‘MJ the Musical’. Received the show four Tony Awardsincluding the lead actor in a 22-year-old musical award Myles Frost.

The California Film Commission said “Michael” is one of 24 independent and studio film projects selected for the latest round of state tax credits. Those features will generate an estimated $423 million in “qualified” spending and $662 million in total spending in California, the group said.

The production will have a cast of 65 and 300 crew members and is expected to film for 80 days in California, primarily in Santa Barbara.

“The program is an important tool to maintain our competitiveness and curb runaway production,” Colleen Bell, executive director of the California Film Commission, said in a statement. “We’re working harder than ever to keep entertainment production here in California where it belongs.”

The other largest final round allocations include a $13.8 million tax credit for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s “The Thomas Crown Affair”; and $11.3 million for an unnamed Disney project.

In all, the California Film Commission has received a total of 58 applications and earmarked $81.7 million in tax credits for the 24 conditionally approved projects.

The state allocates $330 million annually to prevent productions from being shot elsewhere. Under the program, filmmakers can recoup 20% to 25% of expenditures on qualified costs, such as money spent building sets and hiring crews, and can then use the credits to offset state taxes.

California has been working to increase the attractiveness of its tax benefits. The state lost nearly $8 billion in economic activity due to so-called runaway manufacturing, according to an estimate last year by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) for the Motion Picture Assn., a trade organization for the major studios whose the members benefited from the credits.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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