Hollywood Production in Canada Soars on Currency, Tax Credits

Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
‘Deadpool 2’ filmed in Vancouver, Canada.

Foreign location shooting leaped to a record $3.76 billion in 2017 as ‘Deadpool 2’ and ‘The Shape of Water’ went north to shoot.

Hollywood location shooting in Canada soared last year, encouraged by a low Canadian dollar and generous film tax breaks, local producers reported on Thursday.

The 43 percent year-on-year jump to CAN $3.76 billion (US$3.1 billion) in total foreign film and TV production activity north of the border came as pics such as Deadpool 2, Star Trek Beyond, The Shape of WaterThe Handmaid’s Tale and The Girlfriend Experience shot locally, according to a report from the Canadian Media Production Association.

The number of foreign, mostly Hollywood, feature films that shot in Canada jumped from 128 to an all-time high of 183 pictures last year, with total budget expenditures rising from CAN$1.12 billion to CAN$1.86 billion (US$1.5 billion). Even as the number of U.S. TV shows that shot locally in 2017 fell slightly from 156 to 149, overall budget spending for the series went from CAN$1.28 billion to CAN$1.64 billion (US$1.3 billion).

“These higher average budgets may also partly reflect the commissioning activities of online services and the heightened competition among broadcasters and online platforms for global viewers,” the CMPA study reported.

Canada continues to draw Hollywood north on the strength of the low Canadian dollar, compared to the American greenback, and generous tax breaks that allow Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal to compete with rival locales like Louisiana and Georgia. As Netflix, Amazon and Hulu commission more content to be shot in Canada, British Columbia saw the biggest production boom last year as foreign location shooting in and around Vancouver rose 46.8 percent to over CAN$2.31 billion (US$1.88 billion), or 62 percent of overall foreign location volume in Canada.

The west coast province, enjoying close proximity to Los Angeles, last year hosted 95 foreign movie shoots and CAN$1.19 billion (US$997 million) in overall budget expenditures. Besides U.S. producers, Canada also last year hosted its largest number of foreign film and TV projects that shot locally from the U.K., France and Germany.

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