The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today announced the award of the first-ever Studio Partner designation under the Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act. The designation was awarded to Lions Gate Films Inc., which is set to lease space at the Newark studio currently under construction by Great Point Studios, after approval by the NJEDA Board.
“Awarding this designation is a major step in New Jersey’s evolution as a film and television destination,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Bringing studios like Lions Gate to New Jersey will allow us to attract more and larger productions to our state and will create good, high-paying jobs for our residents.”
The designation awarded to Lions Gate is one of only three available under the film and digital media tax incentive program and will allow the studio partner to capture additional above-the-line wage and salary costs as qualified expenses. Above-the-line wages and salary are payments made to highly paid individuals like directors, producers, writers, and performers. The studio partner may include in its application for tax credits above-the-line wages and salary expenses of up to $15 million, $25 million, $40 million, or $60 million depending on the amount of qualified film production expenses involved in the project. In addition, $100 million of the allocation for film and digital media tax credits is set aside for studio partners.
“This is great news for New Jersey’s flourishing film and television industry,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Lions Gate will be a welcome addition to the film landscape, and we look forward to seeing the ‘Filmed in New Jersey’ logo on Lions Gate films for years to come.”
Great Point Studios Co-Founder Robert Halmi said of today’s announcement, “This is a wonderful development for the many entertainment industry workers and performers in New Jersey and for the state itself. It could not have come about without the help of Governor Phil Murphy, who recognized the importance of this vast project to Newark, the state, and the region.”
Originally created under the Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act, the New Jersey Film and Digital Media Tax Credit Program provides a credit against the corporation business tax and the gross income tax for expenses incurred to produce certain films and digital media content in New Jersey.
The project sits on the former site of the Seth Boyden Housing complex in the South Ward section of Newark. The total planned costs are estimated to exceed $194 million to construct and fit out the 350,000- square-foot studio development.
When complete, the project will include five production stages ranging from 20,000 to 30,000 square feet and will offer a full set of production services on site, including grip and electric, equipment, props, set building, restaurants, location catering, cleaning service and security. Once fully operational, initial projections anticipate over 600 new full-time jobs will be created as a part of the development of this facility. The project site will be developed and operated by Great Point Studios, which operates Lions Gate’s new studio complex in Yonkers, NY.
On September 15, 2022, Great Point Studios entered into a ten-year six-month lease with Lions Gate Films, Inc. for a substantial portion of the Newark studio complex. Pursuant to the lease Lions Gate Films Inc. has committed to occupy 253,000 square feet of the development
Construction work commenced on September 16, 2022, and the studio complex is expected to be completed by September 2024.
Founded in 1998, Lions Gate Films Inc. is a subsidiary of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Lions Gate’s film and television subscription and location-based entertainment businesses include a library of over 17,000 titles including many iconic film and television franchises such as Mad Men, Orange is the New Black, The Hunger Games, La La Land, and the Twilight Saga.