Michigan's ends film incentive program

(Photo: Detroit Free Press) 

LANSING -- Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation Friday that ends Michigan's film incentive program to grow the state's movie industry, but keeps the Michigan Film Office in tact -- at least for now.

House Bill 4122, now Public Act 117 of 2015, means an incentive program that helped attract major Hollywood stars and top directors to Michigan to make movies such as "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice," "Red Dawn" and the "Transformers" franchise, will soon fade to black.

"It's important that we support creativity and innovation in our state, and we'll continue to have a Michigan Film Office to assist moviemakers and production staff," Snyder said in a news release. 

"Michigan has much to offer the movie industry, including top-notch talent and beautiful backdrops that will continue to draw filmmakers to Michigan, even without taxpayer-funded incentives."

The law includes $25 million for the incentives for the 2016 fiscal year that begins this Oct. 1. But $19 million of that will go towards paying off the state's investment from pension funds in a struggling Pontiac film studio -- and none of it can be used to extend new deals.

The film office, however, can continue to operate to satisfy any existing contracts, which may last for another three years.

After that, the remaining duties of the film office, created in 1979, could be absorbed into the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

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