State Marks Record Year, with Film Dollars Up 54% to $161 M
CHICAGO – May 10, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn was joined by Emmy Award-winning actor Kelsey Grammer and the producers of the new TV series “Boss” today to celebrate Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. The state is investing $5 million in capital funding into the new, state-of-the art film and television studio. The studio is slated to become the largest such facility in the United States outside Hollywood. The opening comes as the Illinois Film Office (IFO) reports a record $161 million in spending for 2010 and more than 8,000 job hires on film and TV projects.
“Illinois is known for its excellent crew, iconic shooting locations and aggressive tax incentives,” said Governor Quinn. “Now with new stage space available, we are the complete package – truly a world class film destination.”
Cinespace Chicago Film Studios was constructed with $5 million through the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program and includes an $80 million private investment by Toronto-based studio owner Nick Mirkopoulos. The family-owned company has been in business for 23 years and has hosted more than 1,000 films.
The new studio, when fully built out, will include 1.2 million square feet of space and is located on 48.2 acres at the site of the old Ryerson Steel property on the near southwest side of Chicago between Ogden and Western Avenues. The studio has already served as location for filming of “Boss” as well parts of “Transformers 3,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and the TV show “The Chicago Code.”
“We have a solid 25-year track record of building excellent facilities for our Hollywood clients, and we look forward to finally bringing these facilities to Chicago,” said Mirkoupoulos.
The state capital grant is being administered by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the parent agency of the IFO.
“The opening of Cinespace Chicago Film Studios represents a major step forward for the film production industry in Illinois,” said DCEO Director Warren Ribley. “As our economy has rebounded from the recession, the industry has seen a surge in activity, and we think this new facility will only add to the positive momentum.”
“Illinois – and Chicago in particular – has played a lead role in some of TV and film’s most iconic settings,” said IFO Director Betsy Steinberg. “Our film production industry is thriving, but the opening of Cinespace Chicago Film Studios launches a new era when it comes to attracting big budget movies and TV series. We are very excited to welcome Kelsey Grammer along the cast and crew of ‘Boss,’ and we hope this is the beginning of a long run for them.” Steinberg estimates that the current space has the potential to host three to six film or TV productions at one time, creating thousands of film industry job hires.
According to the IFO, the record $161 million in spending in 2010 topped the $155 million in 2007 and represents a 54 percent increase from 2009. The film industry suffered along with the national economy during the recession, and Illinois recorded $141 million 2008 and $104 million in 2009. Last year included big budget projects like “Transformers 3,” “The Dilemma,” “Contagion” and “The Chicago Code,” as well as numerous smaller projects and a thriving commercial production industry.
The IFO also administers the Illinois’ Film Tax Credit, which has been instrumental in spurring growth of Illinois’ film industry. Illinois offers a 30 percent tax credit to filmmakers for money spent on Illinois goods and services, including wages paid to Illinois residents. Since its inception, the Film Tax Credit has helped bring over half a billion dollars in revenue to the state and over 10,000 full time equivalent jobs.
For more information about the Illinois Film Office, go to: http://www.illinoisfilm.biz/.