Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow wined and dined in Wilmington for much of last year while filming the blockbuster Iron Man 3.
Members of the state’s film industry say North Carolina was able to lure the Marvel Studios production, scheduled to release May 3, away from other states with a lucrative incentive for production companies. The state has a history of drawing popular TV shows and films, such as The Last of the Mohicans and Forrest Gump.
But a bill filed last week at the N.C. General Assembly would alter the incentive package by eliminating the tax credit refund — sparking concerns among the state’s film advocates.
House Bill 994, sponsored by members of both parties at the state legislature, would instead waive the N.C. tax liabilities for companies in the next five years.
Legislators said they are concerned that the economic benefit of the film incentive does not outweigh its cost.
North Carolina’s current film incentive law, which took effect in January 2011, provides a 25 percent tax credit refund to companies spending more than $250,000 on a production, with a per-credit cap of $20 million.
Johnny Griffin, director of the Wilmington Regional Film Commission, said the incentive keeps North Carolina competitive with Louisiana, Georgia and other states with similar incentives.
“It’s a tool that is required,” Griffin said. “It’s how clients are making decisions on where to film.”
But a study done earlier this year by the legislature’s Fiscal Research Division questioned the job-creating credentials of films.