Film, TV mean big bucks to Virginia economy
Gov. Bob McDonnell announced this week that the 2011 total economic impact of the film and television industry in Virginia was $394.4 million, a 14.5 percent increase over 2010. In addition, 3,817 jobs were attributed to the film industry in 2011, up from 2,651 jobs in 2010.
“The increase in jobs and revenue from Virginia’s film industry is encouraging and demonstrates the effectiveness of our state’s incentive programs for film production” said Governor McDonnell. “It is particularly significant that the industry has added 1,166 jobs during the past year and contributed nearly $60 million in state and local tax revenue. Thanks to the bipartisan effort to put in place policies attractive to the industry, Virginia continues to land major films, like Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln.’ The Commonwealth’s reputation as a great place to make a movie continues to grow, and the economic impact of the industry in the state continues to increase. Best of all, the growth of Virginia’s film industry means more good-paying jobs for Virginians.”
A number of major projects filmed in the Commonwealth during 2011. Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar, a film about famed F.B.I director J. Edgar Hoover, shot for several days in Northern Virginia. Argo, a critically acclaimed, fact-based thriller about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis also shot for several days in Northern Virginia, directed by and starring Ben Affleck. To Have and to Hold, a colonial-era family drama based on a century-old book by Virginia author Mary Johnston was filmed entirely in Central Virginia and Hampton Roads. Several television shows also shot in the Commonwealth including Moonshiners for the Discovery Channel, Clean House for Style Network, The Best Thing I Ever Ate for the Food Network, The United Stats of America for the History Channel and Who Do You Think You Are? for NBC.
Acclaimed director Steven Spielberg came to Virginia in 2011 to direct two-time Academy Award® winner Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, a revealing drama that focuses on the 16th President’s tumultuous final months in office. In the film Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. The film opens in limited release on November 9, and will open nationwide on November 16. Shot in the Richmond and Petersburg areas, Lincoln had direct expenditures of $32.4 million, for a total economic impact of $64.1 million. The film company hired 1,199 Virginia-based actors and extras and 380 crew members and utilized 23,580 room nights in local hotels and apartments. DreamWorks Studios reported that the economic impact from this film benefitted a wide range of Virginia companies including such diverse businesses as grocery stores, hardware stores, vehicle rental companies, hotels, dry cleaners, restaurants, apartment buildings, fabric and antique stores. In addition to employment for actors and extras, the film provided Virginians work as carpenters, painters, craftspeople, tailors, drivers, film crew, caterers, camera operators and security guards.
In a May 4, 2011 news release from Governor McDonnell’s office, Steven Spielberg noted, “Virginia’s rich historic legacy, coupled with the remarkable period architecture found in Richmond and Petersburg, make Central Virginia the ideal location for this production.” Rita D. McClenny, Interim President and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation, credited Governor McDonnell and the Virginia General Assembly for their contributions in bringing the film to Virginia, stating, “We are grateful to the Governor and the General Assembly for making it possible to bring this prestigious and meaningful film project to Virginia. The state is one of the stars of the film, and we are honored to have been part of the filmmaking experience.”
Economic Impact data is from The Motion Picture and Video Industry’s Contribution to Virginia’s Economy, October 2012, by Mangum Economic Consulting.