Puerto Rico Attracts ‘Wedding Crashers 2’ With Incentives And COVID Security
After pushing back the scourge of COVID-19 to some extent, Puerto Rico opened its ports in June 2020. With the one-year curfew lifted in May this year, business went as usual on this Caribbean island of about 3,500 square miles.
The capital of San Juan hosted its first live concert on June 26, 2021 with salsa icon Gilberto Santa Rosa performing in front of thousands at the Puerto Rico Convention Center for the first time since the pandemic closed. According to ASM Global Regional Director Jorge Perez, 15 more concerts have been announced, 10 of which are already sold out.
International acts are also arriving as most sites in the Americas remain closed. Plunging cases and a relatively high vaccination rate (up to 70%) have brought a semblance of normalcy and an increasing number of filming in the United States, although health and safety protocols are still in place.
Just ask Bruce Willis who has toured the island at least six times since 2019 and the Corona beer makers who have shot five consecutive commercials last year. âMel Gibson has been in Puerto Rico three times in the past two years,â said cinema commissioner Rosi Acosta, who has been leading the revitalization of the film’s organization since taking office in January.
“Wedding Crashers 2”, starring Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Isla Fisher and Rachel McAdams, will be set in September while “The Plane”, starring Gerard Butler, will begin pre-production in a few weeks.
âOur vision at the Puerto Rico Film Commission is to continue to provide incentives that support an entrepreneurial environment favorable to cinema, not only for local productions, but also abroad,â she said.
Manuel Cidre Miranda, Puerto Rico’s Secretary of Economic Development and Trade, agrees. “We are continually working to improve our offering, proving that we have a competitive jurisdiction, especially now that demand for content is at an all time high.”
As a former unit production manager, Acosta is very familiar with the many advantages and challenges of the island. His long list of credits includes Nick Hamm’s “Driven”, “Speed ââKills” with John Travolta and Ving Rhames’ vehicle “Animal”, all shot in Puerto Rico.
Since last year, Willis has starred in three films set on the island, including âMidnight in the Switchgrass,â the debut film from âThe Irishmanâ producer Randall Emmett; âOut of Deathâ by Mike Burns; and “Killing Field”, from director James Cullen Bressack.
Gibson was in Puerto Rico in 2020 for âPanama,â from director Mark Neveldine. This year, Robert De Niro and John Malkovich were on the island for the action thriller âWash Me in the River,â Emmett’s second directorial release, which Avenue will be released in the US next spring.
Puerto Rico’s long-standing tax incentive program includes a 40% production tax credit for resident businesses and individuals and a 20% tax credit on all payments to qualified non-resident individuals . Preferential tax exemptions ranging from 4% to 100% led to more savings. Because Puerto Rico is American territory, American producers don’t have to deal with visas, trade barriers, or different monetary and banking systems, Acosta points out.
Conversely, the incentives are a boon to local producers who may need to work with SAG and other US unions, increasing costs.
“Without these perks it would be practically impossible to shoot here, it would be too expensive for us,” said Puerto Rican producer-distributor Cynthia Weisner, whose comedy “El Cuartito” was made possible by an array of credits that spanned the film. most of its budget.
“These incentives are our cornerstone,” agrees producer Carlos Nido (“Subete a mi moto”) who produced a sort of Latin “High School Musical” series, “Gina Yei”, for Disney Plus in an empty arts hall. of the stage in Humacao, converting the entire building into a performing arts high school, complete with lockers, a gym and work rooms.
The annual credit cap for businesses and individuals resident in Puerto Rico is now $ 38 million per fiscal year, down from the previous cap of $ 50 million, but efforts are underway to bring it down to the original number.
âPuerto Rico’s relevance as a filming destination is validated every day as we host major productions that have an immediate economic impact on our economy, even in difficult times due to the pandemic,â said Cidre Miranda.
In fiscal year 2020-21, which begins and ends in July, Puerto Rico’s economy saw an influx of $ 173 million from production spending on the island, compared to $ 141 million the Previous exercice.