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Just days before “Iron Man 3” hits theaters—and just weeks after the state’s film incentives package was targeted in Raleigh—the Motion Picture Association of America is reporting an analysis that finds the production responsible for nearly $180 million in spending across the state and more than 2,000 jobs in North Carolina.
Released today, the analysis—conducted by MNP LLP, an accounting and consulting firm based in Canada—said filming of Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” in North Carolina resulted in $179.8 million in spending and 2,043 jobs in the state between December 2011 and December 2012, according to a release from the MPAA.
“The analysis also finds that the production is responsible for $104.1 million in labor income across North Carolina, and that spending associated with the film engaged 719 vendors in 84 communities across the state,” the release says, adding such numbers are a positive return on North Carolina’s investment of $20 million in state tax incentives.
Former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the MPAA, is quoted in the release as saying the findings are “just the latest evidence of the economic benefit that film and television production has meant for North Carolina.”
“Thanks to a reliable and refundable production incentive, North Carolinians have been able to reap the benefits of direct spending and job creation across the state,” Dodd said. “Marvel’s ‘Iron Man 3,’ like so many productions that choose to shoot in North Carolina, generated hundreds of millions of dollars in spending for local businesses in dozens of communities and thousands of jobs for North Carolina workers.”
According to the analysis, as a result of the state’s $20-million investment, “Iron Man 3” returned the following economic benefits:
“In addition, several of the businesses hired directly by the production have reported the film to have had a significant effect during the filming period,” the release states, citing as examples Master Craftsmen Services, a furniture restoration company, and Tidewater Storage Trailers, which reported the film represented at least 10 percent of their business in 2012—the first six months in Tidewater’s case, and as much as 15 percent for the year for Master Craftsmen.
Earlier this month, state legislators including Reps. Rick Catlin of New Hanover County and Chris Millis of Pender and Onslow counties filed a bill that opponents say would gut the state’s film incentives package—credited with helping to attract “Iron Man 3,” among other productions.
House Bill 994 would remove the refundable portion of the state’s film tax credit, which currently totals 25 percent, with a cap of $20 million. The bill, which has since been referred to the House Rules Committee, prompted a rally of film industry supporters at the Wilmington riverfront earlier this month.
The Wilmington Regional Film Commission has previously said that “Iron Man 3”—by far the biggest production to film in the Wilmington area—spent $130 million over the course of filming. Other locations in North Carolina included Rose Hill, Currie, Kenansville and Cary.
Beyond Wilmington’s Screen Gems Studios, filming occurred over several months last year in such visible locations as the Port of Wilmington, the nearby National Gypsum facility, the Cape Fear River in front of the PPD building and the oceanfront along Oak Island.
The movie—the third in Marvel’s “Iron Man” series, and the first to follow last year’s blockbuster “The Avengers”—is set to hit theaters Friday, May 3, though advance showings are scheduled Thursday night at both Regal Mayfaire Cinemas and Carmike Cinemas in Wilmington.
Jonathan Spiers is a reporter for Port City Daily. He can be reached at (910) 772-6313 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @jrspiers