THE HIGH COST OF RUNAWAY PRODUCTION
According to a new study, runaway production has cost the U.S.economy $4.1 billion and 25,000 jobs in the past four years.
Stephen Katz, co-founder of the Center for Entertainment Industry Data & Research, told Daily Variety that his study, due out Friday, will report that foreign government subsidies have been responsible for helping film industries outside the United States attract business from U.S. producers.
"The U.S. production industry has daunting choices," said Katz. "Match the incentives, find ways that are noninvasive (and) nonpunitive to the producer to stop foreign subsidies, or accept the fact that the industry is in serious decline that will have ramifications for years to come."
The study looked at films produced between 1998 -- when Canada introduced new production subsidies -- and last year. While worldwide total spending on production rose from $5.56 billion in 1998 to $5.6 billion last year, spending on features in the United States fell 18 percent over the same period -- while the total budget for features shot in Canada more than doubled, from $430 million in 1998 to $1.05 billion in 2001.
CALIFORNIA ACTS TO FIGHT RUNAWAY PRODUCTION
The California Assembly passed a measure Wednesday intended to provide incentives for TV and movie producers to keep their projects within the state.
The measure would establish a tax credit for film, TV and commercial production companies that keep at least 50 percent of their work in the state. The bill would provide 15 percent tax credit for producers on the first $250,000 of qualifying wages for all movies and TV productions budgeted at between $200,000 and $10 million.
According to the sponsor of the bill, Speaker Herb Wesson, the state's film entertainment industry lost nearly 18,000 jobs over the past year -- a 12 percent drop in employment, mainly due to runaway production.
Gov. Gray Davis said the bill -- which would take effect in 2004 if it passes in the California State Senate -- shows the state means business when it comes to fighting runaway production.
"Entertainment is synonymous with movie stars, big productions, creativity, and most of all, Hollywood, California," said Davis in a statement. "We are putting other states and countries on notice: we will compete with you for our television and movie industry -- and we will win.
ROSS IN REHAB
Diana Ross is being treated at an addiction rehab center in Malibu, but she isn't saying what the nature of her problem is.
The singer's publicist issued a statement saying Ross Checked herself into the Promises Center -- which specializes in treatment for drug and alcohol addiction -- early last week. Paul Bloch said Ross wanted to be "in great shape because she is someone who feels a sense of responsibility to her family and her fans."
Ross is scheduled to begin a European and U.S. tour on June 26 in Bonn, Germany.
WILL TUCKER BUMBLE?
Sources tell FilmStew.com that Chris Tucker met recently with director Ivan Reitman ("Ghostbuster," "Stripes") about a remake of the "The Pink Panther."
Several actors have starred as the bumbling yet effective Inspector Clouseau, but Peter Sellers was the best-known among them -- playing Clouseau five times all told. Tucker, who became a superstar in the "Rush Hour" movies with Jackie Chan, also starred in "The Fifth Element" and "Jackie Brown."
'MALCOLM' STAR PREGNANT AGAIN
Jane Kaczmarek -- who plays the crazed mom Lois on "Malcolm in the Middle" -- is expecting her third child with husband Brad Whitford, who plays White House deputy chief of staff Joshua Lyman on "The West Wing."
A publicist for Kaczmarek said the baby is due in November.
"We have been blessed with two extraordinary children," said Kaczmarek and Whitford in a statement, "and we anxiously await the arrival of our newest family member."