Netflix Wins Big Again, Scoring $60 Million in California Tax Credits

The California Film Commission announced the latest round of tax credits for film productions on Monday, and once again Netflix emerged as the big winner.

The streaming giant was awarded $60.3 million in state credits, far outpacing Disney ($27.2 million), Warner Bros. ($16.2 million) and Amazon ($16 million). Netflix also led the way in the last round of credits in August 2021, taking $43.3 million.

This time, Netflix was granted credits for four projects: “Atlas,” “Beverly Hills Cop 4,” “Family Leave” and “Unfrosted.”

The latter project stars Jerry Seinfeld in an origin story about the Pop Tart, and was awarded $14.2 million in credits.

“We are so happy to get the California tax credit which enables us to make our whole movie there,” said Seinfeld, who is also writing, directing and producing the film for Netflix. “Having made all of the ‘Seinfeld’ series in L.A., I very much wanted to come back and shoot there again. On behalf of everyone working on the movie, we really appreciate the great welcome.”

In all, the commission awarded a record-setting $149.2 million in credits for 30 films. The credits allow the companies to offset their state tax liability, and are used as a tool to keep production from fleeing to other states, which also offer tax incentives.

California awards $330 million in credits per year, though that figure was increased by $90 million for each of two years due to the state’s pandemic-related budget surplus — with that increase earmarked for TV shows. The commission has also built up a sizable store of unused credits during the pandemic, as projects that were awarded in prior rounds were either delayed, canceled or relocated to other states.

In a typical year, the state would allocate $132 million to film projects — both independent and studio films — with the remainder going to series TV. So far this fiscal year, however, the state has already awarded $288 million to film projects.

“Beverly Hills Cop 4” — which has been delayed several times over the years — was awarded a tax credit in the round last August, but was unable to make use of it. Netflix applied again and was awarded again this round, winning $16.1 million. Five other projects were also awarded credits for the second time — “Anemone,” “Scandalous,” “The Long Walk,” “Thirsty,” and “Verona Spies” — after delays made it impossible to use the credits the first time around.

“Atlas” is the biggest single project this round, winning $20.5 million. The film is a sci-fi thriller starring Jennifer Lopez. Also of note are “Family Leave,” a body-switch comedy starring Jennifer Garner, and “Training Day: Day of the Riot,” a Warner Bros. prequel to the 2001 Denzel Washington-Ethan Hawke film.

“As an actor, producer and mother, it’s impossible to overstate what shooting locally means to me and other families in this industry,” Garner said in a statement. “I’ve been lucky to work with some of the greatest crew members of my career here in California, and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with some of my home team friends on this project.”

The full list of 30 recipients:

Studio Films

The Three Joaquins, ABC Signature (Disney), $10.2 million
Atlas, Netflix, $20.5 million
Beverly Hills Cop 4, Netflix, $16.1 million
Dust, Disney, $3.6 million
Family Leave, Netflix, $9.4 million
Greatest Hits, Disney, $4.1 million
The Long Walk, New Line Productions (Warner Bros.), $7.1 million
Training Day: Day of the Riot, Warner Bros., $9.1 million
Unfrosted, Netflix, $14.2 million
Untitled Amazon Studios Movie, Amazon, $16 million
Untitled Original Disney Musical, Disney, $9.3 million

Independent Films

80 for Brady, 80 for Brady Productions (Paramount), $2.5 million
Anemone, AFI Media Holdings, $369,000
Dope Little Creatures, Carbin Pictures, $1.4 million
Earth Mama, Net-Net Worldwide, $850,000
Home, JB CA Film 2 LLC (Jason Blum), $2.5 million
If I Had Legs I’d Kick You, Net-Net Worldwide, $1.5 million
Incoming, Artists Road, $1.8 million
Lush Life, Strato Films, $1.1 million
Mina Harker, JB CA Film 1 LLC (Jason Blum), $2.5 million
Photos of You, MRC II Holdings, $2.5 million
Raised Eyebrows, Cold Iron Pictures, $1.1 million
Salinas, Hunting Lane, $843,000
Scandalous, MRC II Holdings, $2.5 million
Thirsty, Cold Iron Pictures, $596,000
Transplant, Significant Productions, $744,000
Unintended Accidental Get Away Driver, K Period Media, $683,000
Untitled CG Project, New Regency, $2.5 million
Verona Spies, ARCI, $1 million
Untitled Vernon Chatman Project, Park County (Paramount), $2.5 million

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