Record for state: Film and TV industry spent more than $500M in N.J. in 2021

Film and television production in New Jersey shattered all previous records in 2021, with the industry spending more than half a billion dollars in the state and creating more than 5,500 jobs, according to the annual report released by the state’s Motion Picture and Television Commission.

The report shows the industry bested its previous spending record by nearly $80 million. In total, New Jersey was home to 725 productions in 2021, including 68 feature films and 132 television series.

Please note, due to the time it takes to gather and verify information, the yearly report always comes out approximately one year after the calendar year is completed. Data for 2022 figures to be released a year from now.

Since 2018, when the state adopted the current credit administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, total spending by production companies in the Garden State has grown by 647%, hitting a record $501 million in 2021. The total spend by the industry encompasses all aspects of filming, including salaries, equipment and location rental, and catering costs.

Gov. Phil Murphy obviously was thrilled by the news.

“We believe that, between our variety of locations, the quality and diversity of our workforce and best-in-class tax credit, New Jersey is exploding as a destination for film and television production,” he said. “After four very successful years, we now look forward to an influx of major studios that will position New Jersey as the premier shooting location on the East Coast.”

In addition to the revenue from the boost in productions, filming in New Jersey has been a boon to the job market.

Films that took advantage of the credit, which provides up to 35% of qualified film production expenses, created a total of 5,529 jobs throughout the state, including positions such as location managers, production managers, line producers, screenwriters, production designers, set decorators, costume designers and wardrobe assistants.

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said the tax credit program has had great impact.

“New Jersey’s film and digital media tax credit is without question one of the best in the nation and has spurred growth in this industry by more than 600% over the past four years,” he said. “We believe the best is yet to come, as major studios throughout the U.S. discover the state’s ideal combination of top talent, logistical advantages and vast array of settings. They will also find that their budgets go much further by setting up shop in New Jersey, especially considering our scalable, robust incentive offerings.”