Michigan’s film incentives to remain at $50 million

Henry Cavill as “Superman”

For a few nervous weeks, it looked like Michigan’s $50 million in film incentives would be chopped down, again, as Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2015 budget called for a cutback to $25 million — a fraction of the $52.1 billion he planned in overall spending.

Now, thanks to a budget agreement signed last Thursday, the $50 million in cash rebates will remain intact, at least for another year.

Said Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, a major supporter Michigan incentives from the get-go, “I think that that industry needs the surety (that funding) is going to be around for a longer time than one year at a time.”

After he leaves office at the end of 2014 under term limits, Richardville said he will push for a long-term film funding plan, the Associated Press reported.

During the first two years of the Gov. Jennifer Granholm-created incentives, an effort to ease soaring unemployment from an auto industry fallout, Michigan’s film industry had boomed to $225 million in 2010 from $1 million in 2008, created two new studios, hundreds of badly needed jobs and many new businesses.

In the past two budgets, the incentives program received $50 million — double the $25 million for film incentives that Gov. Snyder allowed after his election, also changing the tax credits to a direct cash refund. The cap was also cut from 42% to 35%.

“Superman v. Batman” shoots in Detroit and around the state

Warner Bros.’ “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” starring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in the respective roles, is currently in full swing in Detroit, headquartering at Michigan Film Studios in Pontiac.

The movie will pour around $131 million into the state, hire 406 Michigan workers, use 500 Michigan vendors, spend $5.1 million on hotels and pay $3.5 million to cast and crew in per diem payments.

The $35 million cash refund “Batman v. Superman” received will eat up most of the $43.2 million the Michigan Film Office had allocated for nine projects planned for 2014.

The MFO had distributed about $9.87 million to six finished projectsin the first half of budget year 2014.  Currently filming are threelow budget indies, with the thriller “Eloise” having the highest budget of $7.18 million, for which it has received an incentive of up to $1,950 million.

The AMC Michigan-set series, “Low Winter’s Sun,” was in the queque for a $17 million refund had the network renewed it.