Los Angeles on-location production maintains pre-pandemic levels

Local area production plummeted in the fourth quarter of 2022; with commercials being most affected, reports Film LA

By Priyanca Rajput 19 Jan 2023

Los Angeles on-location production maintains pre-pandemic levels
Film LA

FilmLA has reported a decline in on-location filming in 2022, maintaining pre-pandemic levels. 

Local on-location film production plummeted in the fourth quarter of 2022, finishing -19.5% behind its record-breaking equivalent registered just one year ago.

The 8,674 Shoot Days (SD) recorded from October through December brought the year to a lacklustre finish, with 36,792 Shoot Days recorded across all categories by the end of 2022. This represents a -2.4% decline over 2021 (with 37,709 SD) and a very slight, 0.7% increase over pre-pandemic year 2019 (with 36,540 SD).

Overall regional film production levels peaked at 39,627 SD in 2016. Since then, FilmLA has tracked the health of individual filming categories using quarterly and annual five-year rolling averages.

“The return of pre-pandemic filming levels places us roughly where we were in 2019, which was itself a year of significant production decline. Can we hold here, or will the pre-COVID downtrend resume? That is the question everyone is asking,” noted FilmLA President Paul Audley.

Among the major production categories tracked by FilmLA, commercials were affected the most in 2022, finishing -24.5 percent below its five-year annual average. The category posted a -33.7 percent decline in the fourth quarter alone with 828 SD. Commercials finished the year  -22.6 percent below 2021 (with 4,119 SD vs. 5,319 SD). Commercial productions recently filmed in the region include spots for retailers Albertson’s, McDonald’s and US Bank, as well as car commercials for brands Lincoln, Nissan and Toyota.

The Television category, representing the largest component of the Greater Los Angeles film economy, has generally performed well over time. Television production levels in 2022 rest 7.3% above their five-year annual average. Activity in 2022 did slow as compared with the prior year, including a -24.2% fall in the fourth quarter to 3,735 SD. Compared to 2021, television finished the year down -9.6% (with 16,778 SD vs. 18,560 SD).

Breaking down the individual categories of television, TV Dramas posted a fourth quarter decline of -10.7%, with a total of 1,155 SD. The category saw a -17.5 percent change year over year (with 4,627 SD vs. 5,610 SD). TV Dramas that shot last quarter included 9-1-1 (Fox), Bel-Air (Peacock), Bosch Legacy (Freevee), Fatal Attraction (Paramount+), Good Trouble (Freeform), Snowfall (FX), S.W.A.T. (CBS), The Rookie (ABC) and Winning Time (HBO).

A total of 339 SD (44.6%) of all feature production in the fourth quarter – were generated by projects receiving the California Film & Television Tax Credit. Feature films that shot in Greater Los Angeles last quarter included Netflix’s Atlas and Beverly Hills Cop 4, in addition to independent films like Guns and Moses and Billy Knight.

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