Citation alert: the quotation is from my own reporting
Since 2008, Michigan has been offering a huge tax refund to movie producers in order to attract Hollywood to Michigan to stimulate Michigan’s economy. According to Michigan Film Production, Michigan law says that producers can get a 40% refundable tax credit for pre-production, filming, and post-production costs incurred in Michigan. There are of course stipulations: you must spend at least $50,000 and the most a non-resident of Michigan can be paid is $2 million. However, other than that there are no other stipulations that must be followed.
The results of this bill were slow to come at first. Only small production companies started to take advantage of this law. The first response I personally saw from this bill was the construction of a movie studio in Allen Park, a suburb of Detroit. I often see bumper stickers, shirts, or signs that jokingly say “Hollywood 48101.” The biggest Hollywood movie Michiganders could brag about for a while was Gran Tourino featuring Clint Eastwood. It seemed as if this bill had failed in bringing “big names” and “big money” to Michigan.
Now it is the year 2010, and I tell you this tax incentive is working in luring big Hollywood names. Ever since this past summer, I have noticed the dramatic increase of movies being filmed in Michigan. For instance, one day I was driving down my normal route when I saw many orange signs by the middle school that said “extras this way” and “filming crew set camp here.” I was really curious about this and later that day on Facebook I found out that Machine Gun Preacher starring Gerard Butler was being filmed in my own little, city of Melvindale, a suburb of Detroit! Over the next few weeks, I had friends who would spend their entire day watching filming in hopes of meeting Gerard Butler. In fact, one day filming was behind my friend’s house. He claims that Gerard Butler came up to his mom and said, “Hi Cindy, how are you?” She asked him how he knew her name, and he teasingly said, “It says it right there on your name tag.”
Grosse Pointe, another suburb of Detroit, was the location for L.O.L., a movie staring Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore. Other big movies being currently filmed or are scheduled to be filmed in Michigan are Harold and Kumar 3, Scary Movie4, and Transformers 3. In fact, a television series that airs on ABC, Detroit 187, is also being entirely filmed in Detroit, with the exception of its pilot episode. Some of the scenes were filmed at my school, the University of Michigan–Dearborn. My family and I watched an episode of Detroit 187, and it was really fun being able to point out places that we had memories at.
Furthermore, with Hollywood coming to Michigan, many of my friends have been able to be extras and acquire small roles on L.O.L, Scary Movie 4, and Detroit 187. In fact, I am planning to find out how to become an extra. It is an experience I want to have, and plus, you get paid!
As the influx of movie producers and actors increases, I and everyone else can only hope that Michigan’s economy might show signs of improvement. It definitely cannot hurt it. In fact, I read an article the other day that even catering businesses in Michigan have been busy due to Hollywood coming to Michigan.
Sources: Michigan Film Production, Michigan Film Production Incentives
The University of Michigan–Dearborn, CASL students go behind the scenes as hollywood comes to UM-Dearborn