May 25, 2023 - News

A Netflix series in Minnesota? Boosters hope tax credits lure shows

Illustration of a collage featuring a movie clapper, parts of dollar bills and quarters, and triangles..

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Minnesota could finally get the attention of Netflix, HBO, Amazon and TV networks looking for locations to film series.

What happened: The Minnesota Legislature this session beefed up its 25% tax credit program for film production, from $5 million a year to $25 million a year.

  • Also crucially, industry boosters say, it extended the credit for eight years.

Why it matters: That amount of money and longevity puts Minnesota in the mix for bigger budget TV series, said Melodie Bahan, executive director of Minnesota Film & TV. Thanks to streaming services, "episodic television" has exploded in popularity and spending.

How it works: A production that spends $20 million on local expenses shooting a season or a movie in Minnesota would get a $5 million tax credit, for example.

Flashback: Two years ago the creator of the "Mighty Ducks" series on Disney+ opted against filming the show in Minnesota, where the movie originated, due to a lack of incentives that he could find elsewhere.

What they're saying: Brian Simpson of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 490 has been keeping a bingo card of movies and TV shows that scouted Minnesota but chose to go to another state.

  • "Now we're an option," he said. "We've never been an option before."

State of play: Even with the boost, Minnesota remains among the lower tier of states when it comes to incentives, Bahan said.

  • Georgia has no cap on its tax credits and its program is expected to eclipse $1 billion this year. Plenty of other states offer north of $100 million in credits annually.

Yes, but: The added incentives will eventually increase the labor pool for film production and attract investment in new studios and equipment, Simpson said. Large productions will then view Minnesota as capable of handling a new series or big-budget movie.

The other side: While the film credits have had bipartisan support in Minnesota, auditors in some states have raised concerns that the costs outweigh the benefits.


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