Low ratings, incentive doubt kill ‘Detroit 1-8-7’

SERIES CANCELED. Chicago wasn’t the only location outside of L.A. to lose a big network TV series last week.  On Friday the 13th, ABC canceled Detroit 1-8-7. Like Fox’s Chicago Code, its ratings weren’t strong – but Gov. Rick Snyder’s dismantling of the film incentives with his proposed $25 million cap, didn’t help, either.

ALBOM FILM APPROVED. Have a Little Faith, the best seller by Detroit newsman and author Mitch Albom, has been approved for $2.3 million in said tax incentives – the ninth project okayed this year — and will start shooting this summer in Michigan.

Albom is an outspoken advocate of film incentives and supports the Amend Don’t End Coalition’s proposal to cap the incentives at $180 million annually.

PUBLIC HEARINGS AT RALEIGH STUDIOS. Hundreds of concerned film workers gathered Friday for public hearings held by state lawmakers to examine the economic impact of Michigan’s film tax credits. 

The hearing was held was at Michigan’s first major film studio, the $80 million Raleigh Studios, in Pontiac, a joint venture between Hollywood’s Raleigh Studios and Michigan investors.  The studio officially opened in mid-April.  

Ground was broken last year when Michigan’s film industry was going strong with no end in sight.

Movies are still coming to Michigan, said Michael Newport, director/market and client development for Raleigh Studios.  “The studio’s built, it’s there and until there is not going to be a film infrastructure or business in Michigan, there’s no reason for us not to move forward,” he told the Detroit News. 

While some of the studio’s 360,000-sq. ft. of office space has been rented to various production entities, its stages won’t be busy until August, when pre-approved production starts on Disney’s Oz: The Great and Powerful sequel to The Wizard of Oz.

Oz was approved for a $40 million state film incentive last year, before the $25 million cap was proposed.

FADE TO BLACK: The $25 million cap, only proposed so far but actually in effect by the Michigan Film Office, has had a dire effect on Michigan’s formerly thriving film industry.

Livonia-based Maxsar Digital Studios furloughed all of its employees and halted all productions. Ten West Studio lost two potential film deals and Ferndale’s S-Three Entertainment Group was evicted from its Madison Heights location for not paying rent. 

Meanwhile, a bill was introduced in the state senate that would offer tax credits from 30% to 42%.