Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told Wall Street analysts today that Maryland officials are engaged in “ongoing negotiations” to keep House Of Cards production in the state — even though lawmakers didn’t approve the tax breaks producer Media Rights Capital wants. “I would anticipate that these are overcome-able issues,” he says. The Netflix exec says that the state benefits from “staggering” benefits including “hundreds of jobs, and not just for actors.” The controversy has become a political volleyball, he said, though he was careful to note that Maryland “has been great for the show” and that “investors and fans are not at risk in any way.” MRC, which had planned to start shooting the third season of the D.C.-set drama in early spring, received about $26M in Maryland tax credits for its first two season, according to reports. The production company has been seeking a tax credit for Season 3 in line with Season 2′s $15 million. But that would require the Legislature to raise the total credits for all shows — including HBO’s Veep — to $18.5M from $15M. Those favoring the increase were unable to secure the votes they needed.
Ross Lincoln is a Deadline contributor.
Medient Studios, a Los Angeles-based production and distribution outfit with a presence in India, has announced plans to build a $90 million movie studio near Savannah, GA in a deal cleared this week by the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority. Although the deal may end up being good for Georgia, it comes during a precarious time for the Los Angeles-based entertainment economy — even with large-scale expansions underway at NBC Universal, Disney, and Paramount.
Despite an overall increase in movie, TV and commercial production, Los Angeles saw a steep drop in television drama and reality TV production in 2012, a problem the city has attempted to address at least partially by eliminating fees for pilot production. And places like New York, Louisiana, and Michigan as well as Georgia continue to pursue production business aggressively.
“Of course, we’d prefer these kinds of investments be made in the State of California instead of in Georgia,” FilmLA VP of Integrated Communications Philllip Sokoloski told Deadline. “Although the L.A. region has its own studio developments in progress, infrastructure development elsewhere can only intensify the competition we face for valuable film projects and jobs.”
UPDATE 3:30 PM SATURDAY: After Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed the measure on Friday, the state House and Senate repackaged the film and TV tax credit as part of broader legislation to provide tax cuts and other incentives for more types of business. The production tax credit will rise to 30% from 25% for a qualifying TV show producing at least six episodes in New Mexico. The extra 5% will also be available to film and TV projects that use a film studio inside the state for an extended time using some resident crew. Incentives remain capped at $50 million a year, but the revised legislation allows unused credits/subsidies of up to $10 million to be carried over to the following year — offering up to $60 million annually in some instances. The Legislature has adjourned but the governor has indicated she’s prepared to sign the bill.
PREVIOUSLY, 7:25 PM FRIDAY: Gov. Susana Martinez opposed the so-called “Breaking Bad bill” that would have raised the state’s film tax credit to 30% from 25% for TV series shooting at least six episodes in New Mexico, AP reported. Martinez told the Legislature she supports the film industry but objected to a subsidy just for Hollywood rather than making it part of an overall package of economic incentives she’s backing. With New Mexico-filmed Breaking Bad in its final season and In Plain Sight already wrapped, backers of the incentive are …