TRENTON – By Darryl Isherwood
The New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission announced today that overall in-state production spending from filmmaking will exceed half a billion dollars in 2021, following a very busy spring and summer and an unprecedented amount of production taking place this fall.
The record number of productions filming in the state comes just three years after Governor Phil Murphy reinstated the film and television tax credit program and less than a year after the program was expanded. The incentive program rivals that of any state in the country, and has made New Jersey, with its diversity of locations, proximity to New York and wealth of trained film industry workers, a rising player in the film and television industry.“New Jersey’s film production industry has undergone explosive growth in the last four years,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “It is generating very significant revenue for our cities and towns, creating thousands of jobs and promoting permanent, bricks-and-mortar development. The most exciting part of it all is that we are just getting started.”
The record spending from film and television production comes a year after the industry was essentially shut down due to concerns over Covid-19.“It is so exciting to see the film industry thrive once again in New Jersey,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way. “Major film and television productions are investing in New Jersey’s economy, the creative local workers they hire, and the communities where they choose to tell their stories. We cannot wait to see more of the Garden State on camera in the coming years.”“When Gov Murphy signed the New Jersey Film and Digital Media Tax Credit into law, it marked the beginning of a renaissance in the NJ film sector – and as these results and the recent groundbreaking of the first new film studios built in NJ in generations show – the Gov’s strategy is paying off in a big way,” said New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan.Projects shooting in New Jersey over the next several months include the movies Armageddon Time, from Focus Features and starring Robert De Niro, Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway; Jules with Ben Kingsley and Jane Curtin; Universal Pictures’ Bros, a Judd Apatow production starring Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane; Killer Films’ A Good Person featuring Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman; The Greatest Beer Run Ever, an Apple TV+ production with Russell Crowe, Zac Efron and Bill Murray; Something’s Wrong With Rose from Paramount Pictures, starring Sosie Bacon; and Imperative Entertainment’s Cat Person with Nicholas Braun and Emilia Jones.
“We expect annual revenue from film and television production to reach an historic level for 2021,” according to Michael Uslan, chairman of the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission. “The amount of studio, network and independent production taking place here since January is astonishing.” This plethora of production has encouraged a rush of studio development in New Jersey and attracted other ancillary businesses. Cinelease Studios Caven Point in Jersey City and Palisade Stages in Kearny opened earlier this year, and 10 Basin Studios in Kearny will open its doors in November. Insight Equipment, a major lighting and grip supplier, opened facilities in Secaucus and Carlstadt in July, and other developments are on the way including further expansion from Cinelease.“Each major project has an enormous financial impact on the state,” said the Commission’s Vice Chairman, David Smith. The filming of the Hulu series Wu-Tang: An American Saga, Season 2, poured approximately $58 million into local cities and towns. Universal Television spent close to $100 million in New Jersey while producing Season One of CBS’ The Equalizer.