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We're happy to see Bruce Willis save the world but not if he stops the traffic
The Times ^ | October 10, 2006 | Catherine Philp

Posted on 10/09/2006 3:56:03 PM PDT by MadIvan

IT IS the heart of the world’s entertainment industry, the town where you can barely turn a corner without tripping over a film crew and where residents rent out everything from their backyards to their bathrooms to location scouts.

Now, however, a spat between two of California’s biggest money earners — entertainment and aviation — has thrown the spotlight on to the flight of movie-makers to other states and countries, lured by generous tax incentives.

Angelenos have grown used to the disruption caused by filming. But when the producers of Bruce Willis’s fourth Die Hard movie asked to shut down key freeways leading to Los Angeles international airport for 12 days in the autumn, aviation officials revolted.

In a letter to Film LA, which issues filming permits to studios, a senior airport official said that the closures for Live Free or Die Hard could seriously disrupt business. Air cargo companies are particularly upset, saying that filming could cost them millions in delayed deliveries and threatening to send their business to other airports if it goes ahead during the busy pre-Christmas period.

Entertainment business advocates are concerned that the dispute is becoming a test case of how willing the city is to accommodate an industry that put it on the map but which is increasingly taking its business elsewhere. Movie production in California has dived in recent years, threatening Los Angeles’s position as America’s movie-making capital.

From 2003 to 2005, almost a quarter of all American-made feature films were shot entirely in California. This year the projections are for 11 per cent. The number of films and television pilots filmed in Los Angeles city have also plummeted this year, by 6 and 23 per cent respectively.

The beneficiaries have included places such as New York City and Canada, which lure movie-makers with tax incentives. Europe is also getting in on the act: Tessa Jowell, the British Culture Secretary, visited Los Angeles this year to advertise generous tax breaks.

Twenty-five American states also offer such breaks. They include Maryland — where Willis brought traffic to a standstill with a staged car crash last week — but not California.

Industry advocates have cautioned that the flight from California will continue if authorities do not try to protect the industry with tax incentives. Entertainment is the second-largest employment sector in Los Angeles County, generating 250,000 jobs directly and more than $30billion a year in revenue for the local economy. The drop in LA-based television pilot shows alone is estimated to have cost more than 1,000 jobs and drained as much as $70 million from the county’s economy.

“We can no longer think that these jobs are going to stay here just because this is Hollywood,” Antonio Villaraigosa, the Mayor of Los Angeles, said this year. “We’ve got to be aggressive at trying to keep them here.”

With Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Hollywood icon, as state governor it would seem an easy enough agenda to push. But up in the small-town state capital of Sacramento, legislators are unmoved by Hollywood glitz.

A Bill to put California on a more equal tax footing with its rivals failed in the state assembly last year and a new push this summer, backed by Mr Schwarzenegger, also failed when it ran into strong political opposition.

The feeling is that the entertainment business is a super-rich industry that should not need handouts.

Industry advocates say that this view is unfair and that high-earning stars such as Willis are the exception, while thousands of technicians, caterers and studio drivers work for more modest pay packets.

The first Die Hard was shot at Twentieth Century Fox’s headquarters in Los Angeles and in the second, Die Harder, the airport masqueraded as Washington’s Dulles — night-time filming precluded the need for a closedown. Most of the third, though, was filmed on the movie-friendly streets of New York.

The producers of Live Free or Die Hard have promised to co-operate as much as they can with the aviation industry as they film Willis’s latest bid to save the world — this time against internet terrorists.

“We’re all really excited to be making a big movie in Los Angeles,” Fox said.

KEYWORDS: brucewillis; film
Another Die Hard film will be a good thing, hopefully.

Yippee ki yay.

Regards, Ivan

1 posted on 10/09/2006 3:56:04 PM PDT by MadIvan
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To: odds; DCPatriot; Deetes; Barset; fanfan; LadyofShalott; Tolik; mtngrl@vrwc; pax_et_bonum; Alkhin; ..


2 posted on 10/09/2006 3:56:19 PM PDT by MadIvan (I aim to misbehave.)
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To: MadIvan

Disrupting a major LA freeway for 12 days might actually cost more money than the movie generates for the city. Seriously. Extra gas, lost productivity. They should do the best to accomodate movies, but not roll over and play dead to keep em.

3 posted on 10/09/2006 3:58:22 PM PDT by dogbyte12
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To: MadIvan

The title sounds promising anyway but Bruce is getting a little long in the tooth to carry off these kinds of roles.

4 posted on 10/09/2006 4:01:15 PM PDT by saganite (Billions and billions and billions-------and that's just the NASA budget!)
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To: MadIvan
when the producers of Bruce Willis’s fourth Die Hard movie asked to shut down key freeways leading to Los Angeles international airport for 12 days in the autumn

Uh, no.

For stuff like this, you use models and computer graphics and painted backdrops. Or you find a piece of freeway that is under construction and film it there, and just pretend its a "key freeway leading to Los Angeles International". No one is going to let you shut down an active freeway for 12 days, not for any amount of money.

5 posted on 10/09/2006 4:02:17 PM PDT by marron
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To: MadIvan

Stunning arrogance.

6 posted on 10/09/2006 4:25:07 PM PDT by thoughtomator (Islam delenda est)
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To: MadIvan
I work in L.A. where most of the car commercials you see are filmed. One thing they don't tell you is the additional space taken up by all of the trailers for costumes, lighting, cast, crew, craft services, etc.

Parking is at a premium and they sometimes take up three city blocks on both sides of the street will all the trailers they park. A disabled friend of mine who parked in front of building very early in the morning, found that his car, with the handicap tag on the rear view mirror, had been towed. He had to pay the towing and impound fees before they let him car back.

And no, there were no signs saying not to park there because of filming.
7 posted on 10/09/2006 4:31:45 PM PDT by Sergio (If a tree fell on a mime in the forest, would he make a sound?)
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