The province's revenue from the film production industry reached its highest point ever in 2012, according to data released by the Ontario Media Development Corp., but preliminary Hamilton numbers aren't as rosy.
Film and television productions spent a record $1.28 billion in the province last year, a slight increase over 2011’s total of $1.26 billion. That included spending on things such as wages, service contracts, equipment, studio rentals and post-production costs.
The value of film and television production in Ontario has seen an increase of about 90 per cent since 2008, when the total spending was $671.2 million.
“The 2012 results prove that once again Ontario is the place to be for film and television production and reinforces a reputation that continues to grow,” Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, said in a OMDC press release.
Hamilton has seen better years for film and television production, however.
The city’s film-related revenue was at its highest in 2005, at a total of $15.6 million. The final numbers for 2012 are not yet confirmed, but film production is estimated to have brought the city between $7 million and $8 million last year, according to information provided by the Hamilton Film Office.
Hamilton played host to a number of film and television productions in 2012, including the reboot of the sci-fi film RoboCop, which is due to be released in 2014. The final revenue figures for 2012 are still being tabulated by the Hamilton Film Office and will be confirmed early next week.
Jim Mirkopoulos, vice-president of Cinespace Film Studios, said the province’s role in film and television production will continue to increase. He said a number of factors have contributed to the rise in Ontario’s film and television production revenue.
“I think what we’ve seen is an increased confidence in our crews and our facilities,” said Mirkopoulos. “Confidence in the stability of our tax incentives – all these things have played a major role in the volumes that you’re seeing right now.”
The province offers numerous tax credits to support the film and television industry, which add up to a total value of more than $200 million annually.
Mirkopoulos added that production companies from the U.S. are no longer as hesitant about filming during the winter, which means that filming now happens on a year-round basis.
“U.S. service production clients used to be afraid of Canadian winters,” Mirkopoulos explained. “A number of years ago, as some feature film and television [productions] braved our winters, they realized it really wasn’t so bad.”