N.C. film productions already spent record $409M in 2021, officials say

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 1:20 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2021 at 1:38 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Film production projects in North Carolina have already spent a record amount of money in the state in 2021, Governor Roy Cooper announced Thursday at EUE/Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington.

The $409 million spent so far — with an expected yearly total of over $750 million — is the largest tally the state has seen since the creation of the North Carolina Film and Entertainment Grant in 2014.

Additionally, the productions have created over 25,000 jobs for the state’s film professionals.

“We’ve all worked hard toward this banner year for North Carolina’s film industry,” said Cooper. “With our resilient communities and local businesses, and our growing reputation for inclusion and diversity, North Carolina will continue to provide a beautiful stage for film projects of all sizes in every corner of the state.”

This new in-state spending figure far surpasses the state’s previous record of $373 million from 2012, when films “Iron Man 3” and “We’re The Millers,” along with television shows “Revolution,” “Homeland,” and “Banshee” were filmed in the state.

“These multimillion-dollar revenues for 2021 are great economic development wins for North Carolina,” said Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “Our film industry, with its experienced production talent and compelling film locations, creates good paying jobs and positive economic impacts for our economy.”

A majority of the projects in the state have filmed, or will be filming, in southeastern North Carolina. These include television shows, “Florida Man,” “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” “Our Kind of People,” “Echoes,” “George and Tammy,” “Hightown,” and “Welcome to Flatch” (formerly “This Country”); and films “I.S.S.,” “The Black Phone,” “Christmas in Harmony,” “One Summer,” “Line Sisters,” and “Along for the Ride.”

City leaders were in attendance at the press conference, as well as some who work in the film industry.

“Wilmington has always been the epicenter of film production in the state of North Carolina,” said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo. “But now, we have reestablished and made certain that we are here to stay for the long term.”

Governor Cooper says the success came down to North Carolina House Bill 2 being off the books and the increased film incentives. He spoke to those in the area when there was a drought in the film industry.

“I would come and meet with people who would come from all over the city to talk with me about how distraught they were about the lack of film and television production, and how it was drastically affecting their businesses and their families,” said Cooper.

Cooper can’t wait to see what the film industry looks like in Wilmington after the pandemic.

“With this kind of success in the middle of the pandemic, as soon as we get to the other side, I would imagine we are going to see an explosion in this sector here,” said Cooper.

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