LA film production returns to pre-pandemic levels

(The Barbie Movie filming in LA Courtesy Warner Bros.)

Good news for the LA production community. FilmLA issued an update regarding regional filming activity.

After posting three consecutive record-breaking quarters, local filming in the second quarter (“Q2”) of 2022 was down by -5.8 percent over the same period last year. From April through June, FilmLA recorded a total of 9,220 Shoot Days (SD) compared to 9,791 in Q2 2021.

Local filmmakers achieved an all-time quarterly high of 10,780 SD in Q4 2021, moving on to set a new Q1 record of 9,832 SD earlier this year. Even after a second-quarter slip, local production still surpassed pre-pandemic levels; finishing 6.8 percent ahead of Q2 2019 (with 8,632 SD) and 2.7 percent ahead of Q2 2018 (with 8,978 SD).

“We expected we would see production return to pre-pandemic levels sometime within the year, and now here we are,” observed FilmLA President Paul Audley.

Audley noted, “Resilient in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with industry leaders taking steps to protect both worker and community safety, we have confidence in the film industry’s ability to sustain local production at or above its historic levels.”

Feature Films are Strong


The Feature Film category posted a strong performance for Q2, generating 898 SD – a 9 percent increase over the same period last year, but -16.4 percent below the category’s five-year average**. A total of 9 percent of Feature production activity was directly tied to the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program, overseen by the California Film Commission.

Some of the larger Feature Film productions shooting locally during the quarter included Barbie (Warner Bros.), Being Mortal (Searchlight Pictures) an Untitled Jonah Hill Project (Netflix), and the remake of White Men Can’t Jump (20th Century Studios).

Television’s Rising Numbers

Television continues to be a driving force in local production. Though down by -15.8 percent in Q2 from the prior year, the category generated 4,136 SD for a return still 12.7 percent above its five-year average.

Episodic television dramas in production last quarter included Little America (Apple TV+), Dead to Me (Netflix), Euphoria (HBO), Snowfall (FX), Station 19 (ABC), and the final season of This is Us (NBC). More than one in five SD (20.7 percent) in the Television category came from projects that qualified for the California Film and Television Tax Credit.


The TV Reality category also continues to generate impressive gains — up 6.7 percent in Q2 over the same period last year and 96.4 percent above the category’s five-year average. Prominent reality TV series that shot locally included American Idol (ABC), Buried in the Back Yard (Oxygen), Hip Hop My House (Paramount+) and LA Fire and Rescue (NBC).

TV Comedy Shoot Days were also up significantly by 61.8 percent (309 SD vs. 191 SD), though down -20.7 percent compared to the five-year Q2 average. Local single-camera sitcoms in production included Barry (HBO) and Chad (TBS).

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Commercials Down Slightly


Commercials generated 1,110 SD in the second quarter, a considerable sum but -28.1 percent less that recorded in the prior year (1,544 SD), as well as -21.4 percent less than the five-year category average for Q2. Car manufacturers such as Acura, Ford, Kia, Lincoln, Nissan and Toyota shot commercials in the region last quarter, as did major retailers including Lowe’s and Home Depot.

Although generally less beneficial from a job creation standpoint, FilmLA’s “Other” production category – which primarily consists of still photography shoots and student films, but also includes music & industrial videos, documentaries, and miscellaneous categories of production – posted a 22.5 percent Q2 gain year over year (3,076 vs. 2,510 SD), but a slight decline of -4.0 percent over the five-year average.

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