NJ: Tax credits go to 2 film companies

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The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board today approved two major film projects for tax credits through the State’s new Film Tax Credit program: “JOKER,” a film that delves into the iconic Batman villain’s past and a Steven Spielberg-directed screen adaptation of “West Side Story.” Both projects have qualified for bonus diversity tax credits available under the program.


“These two major productions are bringing jobs to our state and bolstering the economy of New Jersey while supporting our diverse communities,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “I am proud to see the film industry growing and thriving in the Garden State and excited to see New Jersey become the backdrop for more movies and television shows in the future.”


The Film Tax Credit provides a 30 percent tax credit against the corporate business tax and gross income tax for qualified film production expenses and a 35 percent credit for goods and services purchased through vendors located in targeted areas of the state. To qualify for the program, a film must spend at least 60 percent of its total budget in New Jersey or incur more than $1 million in qualified production expenses in the state.


The projects approved today are among the most highly-anticipated films currently in production. The Warner Brothers Studios-produced “JOKER,” filming in Newark, examines the background of the iconic Batman supervillain, telling the story of his evolution from a mild-mannered young man caring for his delusional mother into the infamous figure that has captured fans’ imaginations for years.


The other project, shooting in Paterson, is a screen adaptation of the Broadway staple “West Side Story” produced by Twentieth Century Fox. The film brings together legendary director Steven Spielberg and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner to present the classic tale in a new way.


Both productions may receive a bonus two percent Diversity Tax Credit. To qualify for the bonus, productions had to submit a diversity plan for the recruitment and hiring of women and minority persons. The productions will receive the credit upon completion if the production company can demonstrate a good-faith effort to undertake the strategies and meet the goals of the approved plan.


“Film and digital media are among the high-growth sectors targeted in Governor Murphy’s economic plan because attracting major studio productions benefits the communities where filming takes place as well as the hundreds of businesses and workers throughout our state that supply materials and services for the film industry,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “We are especially pleased that Warner Brothers Studios and Twentieth Century Fox – two of the biggest players in the film industry – have not only decided to film here, but have also made hiring a diverse workforce a priority.”

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