Executives: NC Losing Film Productions Due to Lackluster Incentives

The Charlotte region is about to be thrust into the Hollywood spotlight as “Paper Towns,” a movie filmed in the area, is set to hit the big screen next week.

Filming for the movie took place before North Carolina’s tax incentives ran out at the end of last year. A grant came in to replace them, but local talent executives say it’s nowhere near enough, and film crews are leaving the state on the cutting room floor.

Scott Cooper, owner of Evolution Talent Agency in NoDa, said, “A lot of the productions such as ‘Sleepy Hollow’ have left North Carolina and moved to Georgia because they still have excellent tax incentives in place.”

Evolution opened a satellite office in Atlanta to compete. Cooper says once filmmakers decide to leave the state, it’s hard to win them back. Cooper said, “It’s a lot of hard work to really get to the place where we were, and it’s going to be even harder to get it back.” 

The North Carolina film office says last year, for each project, filmmakers could get up to $20 million back for an $80 million feature film. Now that payback is capped at only $5 million per project.