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New bill offers tax rebate to film production

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – State lawmakers are working to attract filmmakers to central Indiana and they want the money they spend to come along with them. This year one state representative is proposing tax incentives as part of his bill to get the attention of filmmakers from across the country. 

Indiana is one of 15 other states with no tax incentives for film production. Representative David Frizzell wants to change that and give production companies a rebate to get them to shoot their movies or TV shows in Indiana.

For the past several years, similar bills have been presented but have failed.  Rep. Frizzell is trying again but this year the bill is different than in years past. It avoids giving a tax credit but instead offers a tax rebate instead. There are two requirements written in the bill for production companies in order to be eligible for a tax rebate.

First, the movie or show must create jobs and second, some of the money must be spent inside the state. Productions can earn up to a 35 percent rebate on what they spend. The president of the Heartland Film Festival, Craig Prater, says it will do so much for the city. 

“The perfect scenario is for a state to offer tax incentives, the filmmakers come in and produce and direct,” says Craig Prater. “They spend their money in the city because of it’s filling hotels, it’s contracting local vendors, its putting business in that particular city.” 

“It used to be a tax credit,” said Rep. David Frizzell. “Now we’ve changed to a rebate. Tennesse has a rebate, we are looking at that model as well. They’ve had over $42 million in business. They’ve been very successful and with over 2,000 new jobs in the state of Tennessee. I want to see that come to Indiana.”

Frizzel also says since 2016 the state has lost over $100 million worth of potential business coming from film and TV production.  The bill has moved on to be heard in the Ways and Means Committee soon. It’s not currently on the agenda. 


Box office goes ‘Sonic’ again but hears ‘Call of the Wild’

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The hedgehog edged the sled dog by a nose at the box office.

“Sonic: The Hedgehog” zoomed to the top of the box office with a take of $26.3 million in its second weekend while audiences ignored critics and heeded “The Call of the Wild” as the Harrison Ford CGI dog flick finished a close second with $24.8 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

It was a strong weekend for both films, with each outperforming expectations and overcoming early doubts about design problems.

Paramount Pictures’ Sega video game adaptation “Sonic the Hedgehog” was a laughingstock when its first trailer was released last year, but after a delay and a title-character makeover, the film has now spent two weeks atop the box office and brought in over $200 million globally.

20th Century Studios’ “The Call of the Wild” was also mocked by many on social media for its CGI dog — the first five film adaptations of Jack London’s 1903 novel all used real ones — and reviews were decidedly mixed with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 62 percent, but moviegoers bought into the digital dog and his 77-year-old co-star, who would have won the weekend were it not for a late surge from “Sonic.”

“For ‘Call of the Wild’ heading into weekend the estimates were all over the place, as low as 10 million for the weekend, some saying it could do 15, maybe 20,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “So like ‘Sonic’ it over-performed.”

In a very distant third with $7 million was “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey” in its third week.

The weekend’s other wide release, “Brahms: The Boy II” starring Katie Holmes, was fourth with just $5.9 million.

That was a disappointing opening at a time of year when horror films often do well. 2020 appears to be bucking that trend with family films thriving in the early weeks of the year.

“’Sonic’ and ‘Call of the Wild’ represent two PG-rated movies where that void in the marketplace for families is the key to their success in this part of the year, a time that’s usually dominated by awards holdovers and R-rated films,” Dergarabedian said.

And those family audiences may be why critics didn’t matter for the top two films.

“PG-rated films are more immune to reviews and are more about the audience. If a kid wants to go see a film, they’re going to go see it” he said.

Best picture winner “Parasite” continued its post-Oscars surge in a week where its victory was mocked at a rally by President Donald Trump, bringing in $3.2 million in North America, where it has earned nearly $50 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.

1. “Sonic the Hedgehog,” 26.3 million, ($38.3 million international).

2. “The Call of the Wild,” $24.8 million, (15.4 million international).

3. “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey,” $7 million, (10 million international).

4. “Brahms: The Boy II,” $5.9 million, ($2.2 million international).

5. “Bad Boys for Life,” $5.86 million, ($8.1 million international).

6. “1917,” $4.4 million, ($9.4 million international).

7. “Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island,” $4.2 million, ($3.9 million international).

8. “Parasite,” $3.1 million, ($8.9 million international).

9. “Jumanji: The Next Level,” $3 million, ($1.3 million international).

10. “The Photograph,” $2.8 million.