Illinois film production revenue reaches record high $630 million
Projected film production revenue in 2021 hit a record high of $630 million in Illinois, shattering pre-pandemic levels in 2019 by $70 million.
Film production revenues are the costs associated with film, television, streaming, and digital media, which have steadily increased over the past 10 years.
Additionally, film permits issued by the City of Chicago have also reached pre-pandemic levels.
Film production revenues and the number of permits issued were announced Thursday, June 16, by Gov. JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot.
In addition to film revenues statistics, which are collected by the state as part of the Illinois Film Production Tax Credit, the Chicago Film Office at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, DCASE, recorded gains in the number of permits administered.
Additionally, in 2021 Chicago Film Office launched a new “Chicago Made” initiative to strengthen Chicago’s TV and film industry, including a workforce development program and public awareness campaign based on recommendations from the City of Chicago’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force.
In addition to major prime-time programs, such as NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med” and “Chicago PD” being renewed for an additional season, 2021 also brought new TV productions like “Shining Girls” from Apple TV+ and “61st Street” from AMC Studios.
Major high-profile TV productions and movies were also filmed in Chicago suburbs and rural areas, including HBO’s critically acclaimed series, “Somebody Somewhere,” which was filmed in Lockport.
Moreover, 2021 brought new studios to the greater northeast region of Illinois, such as Legendary Television, which filmed “Paper Girls” and “Lightyears” for Amazon Studios primarily on location outside of Chicago.
“Every TV and film project here in Illinois, brings a flurry of economic activity to our state,” said Sylvia I. Garcia, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which houses the Illinois Film Office, in a news release.
“Every production creates a multiplier effect by increasing foot traffic to local stores and restaurants, recruiting local extras and hiring our talented crews, and then by making our incredible Illinois landmarks well known to audiences across the globe.”
Prior to the year 2020, the Illinois Film Office recorded more than 10 consecutive years of growth.
With the onset of the pandemic and a pause in filming, 2020 experienced a dip, with revenues reaching record highs in 2021.
“Illinois’ film industry production is breaking records, adding millions into the state’s economy each year, which is truly a great testament to our crew base, local unions and piloting health policy precautions for the industry to return production levels back to pre-pandemic times,” said Peter Hawley, director of the Illinois Film Office.
“This past year, we were able to expand film production outside of Chicago, showcasing additional opportunities for commercials, film, TV and location projects, to ensure this industry continues to succeed and grow in Illinois.”
The Chicago Film Office issued 1,771 permits for projects in 2021 and ranks first in the Midwest region for production.
The Illinois Film Production Tax Credit Act, originally passed in 2008, offers a 30 percent tax credit for qualified production spending and labor expenditures.