Here’s how much money Hallmark movies are bringing to Tampa Bay

The recent rush of popular films made locally has also created new jobs.
Published April 16
Updated April 22

Hallmark movies bring tears to viewers’ eyes and warmth to their hearts. They also bring jobs and money to cities where they’re made

Love in the Sun, the second Hallmark movie to be made in the Tampa Bay area in recent months, expects to spend as much as $1 million in Hillsborough County during eight days of filming.

On wages, it will spend an estimated $732,008 on employing 253 county residents — $677,508 on 46 crew members, $25,000 on 200 extras, $4,500 on two stand-ins, $20,000 on two members of the supporting cast and $5,000 on three “day players,” actors who work less than three total day and have speaking lines.

Those numbers are according to the production’s application for Hillsborough’s film incentive that provides 10 percent back on what it spends in the county. The incentive is only doled out after the production turns in all receipts that are then audited by the county.

RELATED: Could Tampa Bay be the future location of Hallmark films? We traveled to a film set to find out

Other expenditures will include 300 room nights at a total cost of $45,000 with the rest being spent on food and equipment.

The movie, according to the application, is slated for a May 25 premiere and is about a “30-something” advertising executive who trades in “her high school sweetheart and beach community for a gloomy job” in a Midwestern city. “When fates brings her back to her childhood home, she tries to reconnect with her past and find a new meaning for success.”

Through movie magic, Tampa is doubling as the Midwestern city this week. Pinellas has already been used the backdrop for the beach community.

According to the Hillsborough application, the Hallmark movie had seven days of shooting scheduled in Pinellas County. Those scenes were filmed in Safety Harbor, Treasure Island and St. Petersburg. Production wrapped last Friday.

St. Petersburg-Clearwater film commissioner Tony Armer said he will not know the economic impact the movie had on his county until the production turns in the receipts required to receive Pinellas’ incentive that also provides 10 percent back on local expenditures.

But, he said the exposure the movie is providing Pinellas is already paying off.

“Everyone’s been talking more about these Hallmark films than any other project in the last five years,” he said. We “haven’t had this much buzz since Dolphin Tale 2.”

The other Hallmark movie was True Love Blooms, which premiered April 6. Primarily shot in Pinellas, it featured Vinoy Park and First Avenue South, among other locales.

RELATED: Get the tissues — a Hallmark movie is being filmed in St. Petersburg

Elayne Schmidt, who has offices in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, is producer of both.

Unlike other states including neighboring Georgia, which has become home to the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, Florida does not offer a state incentive for productions. So, it is up to the individual counties to provide their own.

According to the movie’s Hillsborough application, the local incentives were a “determining factor” in bringing Love in the Sun here.

“Projects like Love in the Sun are yet another example of how important Hillsborough County’s incentive is to our continued success,” Tyler Martinolich, Hillsborough’s film commissioner said. “This film provided meaningful job opportunities to many Hillsborough county residents, and is a great showcase all that Tampa Bay has to offer.”

Contact Paul Guzzo at [email protected] or follow @PGuzzoTimes.

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