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Robert Trigaux

Florida gains ground in movie-TV production



BurnnoticeTVshow Wake up and good morning. Lights. Action. Profits? Florida is a rising state in a movie and TV industry that nationwide contributed 2.5 million jobs and $41.1 billion in wages to the U.S. economy in 2007, according to a Motion Picture Association of America report out this week. The report, Economic Impact of the Motion Picture and Television Industry on the United States, says there's a shift of top production states beyond the traditional entertainment powerhouses of California and New York.

And Florida, Illinois and Texas are the beneficiaries, while Nevada, Arizona and Montana are among those that have lost some luster.

Florida has had a busy couple of years, the study indicates. Combined, 41 movies and TV shows were filmed in the state in 2007, with total wages paid in Florida that year of $1.47 billion. That ranked fourth behind California, New York and Texas. In 2008, 35 more films and TV shows were filed in Florida. Among the recent ones: Burn Notice, a TV series (see photo) about a blacklisted spy dumped back in his hometown of Miami; New in Town, in which actress Renee Zellweger is an up and coming executive living in Miami who gets relocated to Minnesota in winter, and Ace Ventura 3,which did not include actor Jim Carrey. Okay -- so they all can't be award winners.

Then there's the more popular movie Marley & Me, starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, about newlyweds deciding to leave the harsh Michigan winter for West Palm Beach. States the Motion Picture Association report on Marley & Me:

"The production spent 113 days on location in Florida, injecting $10.1 million into the local economy, including $1.1 million at seven different hotels including The Mutiny Hotel and The Sonesta Hotel & Suites and $5.1 million in wages to 2,020 local personnel hires. Local vendors included C.F.R. Coastal Enterprises, which provided soundproofing for the set, and Foliage Express, Inc. and Shell Lumber & Hardware, which provided set construction materials."

Among the findings from the report, based mostly on 2007 data, the most recent year complete data is available, the motion picture and television industry was responsible for:

* an average salary of $74,700 for production employees
* $38.2 billion in payments to U.S. vendors and suppliers, small businesses and
* $13 billion in income and sales, and $13.6 billion in trade surplus.

Okay, so most of these examples do not focus on the Tampa Bay area, but filming took place around here, too. Just stuff of lesser clout. Example: One supernatural thriller called Burial at Sea was filmed entirely in Florida, including scenes at Fort DeSoto and the University of Tampa.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:24am]


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