Surging Hollywood production levels in and around Vancouver took a hit last year in part due to local labor action against North American producers, and the current industry shutdown around the Writers Guild of America and the SAG-AFTRA strikes will lead to additional losses, according to the Vancouver Film Commission.
Overall film and TV spending in the Canadian province, virtually all of which originates with major Hollywood studios and streamers, fell to $3.4 billion in 2022, compared to a record $3.5 billion in 2021 amid rebounding foreign location shooting for series like Yellowjackets, Superman & Lois and The Flash as the pandemic ebbed.
The slippage in total film and TV activity last year had been expected as local Hollywood production was dampened by a labor action in the province that began after the Directors Guild of Canada B.C. issued a formal strike against North American producers represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the Canadian Media Producers Association.
After a brief halt on a halt on new film and television productions in the province, a new collective agreement covering local film and TV production was eventually reached.
The Vancouver Film Commission also put the slight fall in foreign production in 2022 down to American film and TV activity stabilizing after a backlog of production work coming out of the pandemic-era industry shutdown was cleared.
At the same time, less foreign location film and TV production was offset by higher visual effects and animation production in British Columbia, which jumped to a record $1.4 billion in 2022, against a year-earlier $1.1 billion.
That activity led the province’s overall spend on film, TV, VFX and animation production to reach a record $4.9 billion last year, up from $4.6 billion in 2021, according to the Vancouver Film Commission.
But the local agency warned the settled Writers Guild of America strike and the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike stateside “will result in a significant short-term drop in production spending around the world, including British Columbia.” The dual labor actions have caused a big slice of North American film and TV production to halt, including projects in Canada.
Hollywood film and TV production in B.C. has been underpinned in recent years by major U.S. streaming giants joining traditional Hollywood studios in shooting originals locally to engage a global base of TV subscribers.
B.C. competes against rival locales like Ontario, Georgia, New York and California to lure Hollywood producers to take advantage of tax credits and other incentives when shooting on its soundstages.