2008 film revenues hit $141 million

The estimated $25 million spent by Michael Mann’s blockbuster “Public Enemies” in the state last year pumped up officially-tallied 2008 revenues to $141 million, from production of film, TV shows and commercials production.

Nine features and one TV series contributed $132.5 million to the total, while spot production tumbled to $18.5 million, the Illinois Film Office reported.

Total revenues of $155 million in 2007 were an all-time high, however, $125 million came from film/TV production and $30 million from spot expenditures, which included Sears’ on-time, big- budget holiday package.

“Public Enemies,” which shot for six months in Chicago and small towns throughout the state, was Illinois’ biggest employer ever, according to Local 476’s Mark Hogan. “It accounted for at least 50% more income for Illinois workers than in previous years,” he said.

While the total income is impressive, the number of 2008 shooting days plummeted by 43%.

Nine studio pictures shot in full or in part for 99 days, compared with 10 studio films that shot 174 days in 2007, according to the Chicago Film Office, which tracks films that acquire permits to shoot within city limits.

Only one TV series landed in Chicago and commercials took a precipitous 40% revenue dive over the previous year.

Film production income would have been substantially greater last year if not for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich waiting five months from the January passage of the tax incentives for the perfect photo opt to sign off on the tax incentives. By then, studios that planned to shoot here had moved on.