The amount for fiscal 2015 --
But like any popcorn movie worth its salt, there could be epic battles ahead for the film incentives.
The program will lose an important advocate. The incentives law itself is scheduled to lapse in three years.
And Batman and Superman could be part of future plot twists.
A level figure
Snyder's act angered the local film community, sent projects like "The Avengers" running to other states, and had
But thanks largely to the clout of Senate Majority Leader
"The fact that now they have
That amount is double what Snyder preferred in his budget proposals. Most observers consider the
But here's the spoiler alert: Richardville will be leaving
Political analysts said they think his departure will be a blow to the future of the program.
"Randy was a champion for the film industry. Because he was majority leader, he was able to provide some funding," said political analyst and pollster
Longtime political analyst
"It's conceivable something could keep it happening at this major level for a year or two ahead, but I wouldn't put any money on it," Ballenger said.
Richardville himself is more optimistic. "I think that a lot of people in
Richardville said he thinks the incentives proved a worthwhile investment and a way to retain creative young people and spread positive messages about
Richardville points to the possibility of various incentives supporters picking up where he'll leave off, not just one person.
"I think you're going to see more of a team approach in the future, people that realize that we can build careers in a diverse industry, that we're competitive, that we have the best workforce arguably in
let something like that fall away?" he said.
The stakes could be higher in three years, when the film incentives law is set to end
If that date stays firm, there are several possible scenarios: The lapsed law could could stay dead, it could be extended by a legislative vote or be replaced by a totally different plan.
Richardville said the intent of the sunset provision always was to keep the incentives dynamic and evolving. The thinking was that the law would be reviewed and revised long before the sunset arrived.
"In fact, I think it needs to be done this fall, as early as September," said Richardville, who plans to look at that possibility over the next 60 days. "I think we need to take a look at the percentages that were built in, what the industry is doing, what the rest of the country is doing. Our goal is always to be competitive."
Whatever happens now, a lot will depend on the results of November elections for governor and
He said the the local film community is working to maintain the incentives and is staying involved in the politics of the issue.
Are they necessary?
On a national level, film incentives are a topic marked by strong philosophical disagreements and continuing political wrangling as to whether to keep them alive or kill them off. Just last week,
Some states became so active in granting incentives that
There has been some good news for the incentives lately, and not just from "Batman v. Superman" publicity.
A March report prepared for the Michigan Film Office offers evidence that under changes implemented during Snyder's administration, the incentives could be working better in some ways for the state and producers.
The REMI report (done by
It also said that the switch in 2012 from tax credits to speedier cash rebates helps offset "the reduction of the overall generosity of the incentive." Besides losing their uncapped status under Snyder, the incentives were reduced from up to 42% of qualifying costs to up to 32%.
"We've gotten a lot of high fives on it from
With cash rebates, projects no longer have to wait until filmmakers file tax returns to receive their payout. They can get their money once they complete production and finish the necessary paperwork.
There's been a slight change in the budget language for the incentives, too. For fiscal 2015,
That doesn't mean the money will roll over automatically. But it could be read as a nod to the continuing nature of the program.
"They're just kind of confirming what's already in the law," O'Riley said. "This law is in place through 2017 and there's going to be an annual debate about how much to allocate for it."
And what about Batman and Superman? Will they be sticking around? Adler said he heard
It's a possibility that is generating buzz, because it could mean years of return visits for the much-anticipated "
"Batman v. Superman" is projecting
"When we see the studios paying attention to states, it definitely does make it more attractive," Franck said. "But you also want to look at, 'Is the production so large that it's going to use up all of the funding?' ... But when you have a state where a lot of people are going, you want to say, 'Hey, why are people going here? Do we need to go there? Is there more going on there than just the incentive?' "
The bottom line for studios is economics. While things like a solid crew infrastructure, versatile locations and numerous soundstages are all important, states or countries aren't likely to land or keep a film franchise without competitive incentives.
Regarding "Batman v. Superman," O'Riley is focused on what's happening now.
"Our first priority is making sure that their experience with their first movie they're doing here is the best it can be. That's what's going to attract repeat customers," she said. "I don't know what the crystal ball holds for the future, but the best position we can put ourselves in is for them to have a great experience while they're here."
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