Post-Strike Production Rebound Slow to Materialize in Early 2024

FilmLANews Releases, Research

FilmLA Film Production Report Q1 2024

FilmLA, partner film office for the City and County of Los Angeles and other local jurisdictions – today issued an update regarding regional filming activity.

The film industry’s highly-anticipated return to production in 2024 took eight to ten weeks to materialize, according to FilmLA. The end of labor work actions late in 2023 pushed many project starts into the New Year.

At the same time, runaway production, series cancelations and planned reductions in content spend were seen to limit industry output and work opportunities. Local on-location filming declined -8.7 percent from January through March, attaining only 6,823 Shoot Days (SD)* in the first quarter.

Reviewing the data, researchers identified a double-digit loss of Television production as the main contributor to the decline. Television production was down -16.2 percent year-over-year in the first quarter (2,402 SD in 2024 vs. 2,868 in 2023). Present filming levels look much worse over a longer study period, as Television now trails its five-year category average by -32.8 percent.**

“Since the first week of January people have called FilmLA to say, ‘I am still looking for work. The phone isn’t ringing. Is the industry back?’” said FilmLA President Paul Audley. “Unfortunately, production is still slow, and things are not as they were.”

“Many who weathered months without access to work and income had hoped filming would return quickly after the holidays,” Audley elaborated. “Production didn’t really stabilize until March, meeting our predictions while falling short of our hopes.”

“Job seekers sometimes ask us how Shoot Days and days spent working on-location are connected to the creation of industry jobs,” Audley shared. “When we dug into the permit data and examined the self-reported number*** of cast and crew present and working on-location, we found additional evidence of the delayed return to work.”

Based on a recent ad hoc analysis from FilmLA Research, fewer cast and crew jobs were associated with all film permits active in January (2,282 jobs), February (3,061 jobs), and March (3,274 jobs) of 2024, compared to all permits active for those same months in 2023. The difference was most noticeable in January (-30.6 percent fewer jobs), modest in February (-5.1 percent fewer jobs), and nearly unobservable by the end of March (-0.4 percent fewer jobs).

Looking deeper into the Television category, Reality TV production dropped -18.6 percent in the first quarter (to 1,317 SD), while location-heavy TV Drama production dropped -5.5 percent (to 720 SD), and less location-heavy TV Comedy production dropped -51.5 percent (to 157 SD). TV Pilots, almost none of which were made in 2023, saw a 842.9 percent rise in quarterly production, for a yield of just 66 SD.

Projects qualifying for the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program logged 94 SD for the quarter, far less than is typical. Shows filming since January 9-1-1 Season 7 (Fox), Bosch Legacy Season 3 (Amazon Freevee), Hacks Season 3 (HBO Max), Shrinking Season 2 (Apple TV+), The Lincoln Lawyer Season 3 (Netflix), Seal Team Season 7 (CBS), and The Rookie Season 6 (ABC).

The production of Commercials for television and the web slipped in the first quarter with a -9.6 percent drop to 813 SD. Loss of production to other jurisdictions remains a concern, as local Commercial production levels trailed their first quarter five-year average by -33.1 percent. A list of recent spots lensing locally include brands like AT&T, Chase Bank, Geico and Papa John’s, plus automobile ads for Ford, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota.   

Feature film production rose slightly last quarter, picking up 634 SD to finish 6.6 percent ahead of the same months in 2023.  Seven feature films in production last quarter were associated with the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program, including Atlas, Beverly Hills Cop 4, Billy Knight, Lurker, Mercy, Shell, and The Cure.  Together these projects made up 72 SD – or 11.4 percent – of the category’s quarterly yield.

FilmLA’s “Other” category, which aggregates smaller, lower-cost shoots such as Still Photography, Student Films, Documentaries, Music and Industrial Videos and other projects, declined -4.5 percent (to 2,974 SD) for the quarter.

Notes on This Report

* On-location production figures are based on days of permitted production within the jurisdictions served by FilmLA. One “Shoot Day” (or “SD”) is defined as one crew’s permission to film at one or more defined locations during all or part of any given 24-hour period.

** FilmLA’s reported five-year average excludes 2020, which due to the significant impact of COVID-19 on production that year, distorts all historical comparisons.

*** Permit applicants served by FilmLA declare the number of production cast and crew who will be physically present on-location during filming. This customer-supplied headcount is not independently verified by FilmLA and is an incomplete measure of total production employment. 

Get The Full Report

Download FilmLA's 2024 Q1
Los Angeles Film Production Report

About FilmlA

FILML.A., INC® is a not-for-profit organization and the official film office of the City and County of Los Angeles, among an ever-increasing roster of local municipalities. Through expedited permit processing, comprehensive community relations, film policy analysis and other services, FilmLA works to streamline and enhance the on-location filmmaking process for communities and content creators, to ensure the Greater Los Angeles economy continues to thrive.

Integral to FilmLA’s work is ongoing research into the benefits that local filming brings to the Los Angeles region. To that end, we maintain an internal research division devoted to the production, collection and dissemination of information regarding the U.S. film production economy and global production trends.

Provided you cite FilmLA as your source, you are welcome to use all information, charts, graphs, etc. that appear in our reports.

Keep Up to Date on the Data
Subscribe to FilmLA's Research Updates and get reports delivered to your inbox as soon as they're released.