Key French tax credits aimed at the cinema, audiovisual and video game sectors generated $3.2 billion (€2.9 billion) worth of extra spending in France from 2017 to 2021, according to a study released by EY Consulting.
The report commissioned by France’s National Cinema Centre (CNC) focused on four incentives: the cinema tax credit, offering a 30% rebate on eligible spend; the 25% audiovisual tax credit; the 30% Tax Rebate for International Productions (TRIP), to which an additional 10% can be added if VFX or animation work is done on the territory, and 30% video game tax credit.
Breaking down the contribution of each the incentives, it said the cinema credit had generated €373 million ($414 million) in extra spending; the audiovisual credit, €1.3 billion ($1.4 billion); the TRIP, €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion), and the video games incentive, €116 million ($129 million) from 2017 to 2021.
“Each of these measures has achieved its set objectives… and for a relatively low net cost given the additional revenue, in particular fiscal, that they generate,” said the CNC in a statement accompanying the release of the report.
The study found that for every €1 ($1.1) given as a tax credit, the cinema incentive generated €6.40 ($7.12) in local spending and 76 euro cents (85 cents) in fiscal receipts, while for the TRIP, this came in at €3.99 ($4.44) and 44 euro cents (48 cents).
The publication of the report comes amid ongoing debate over public spending on the film and TV sector in France.
More generally, the report suggested the cinema tax credit had played a decisive role in encouraging big French feature productions to return and stay in France, after years of delocalization to neighboring European territories with more generous incentive schemes.
It cited the example of the Martin Bourboulon’s ambitious $72 million two-part, French-language Alexandre Dumas adaptation spanning The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan and The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan.
According to its figures, the cinema tax credit had covered 19% of their combined €72 million ($80 million) budget, or €13.5 million ($15 million).
The report quoted an unnamed representative of the production, led by Dimitri Rassam at Mediawan company Chapter 2, in collaboration with Pathé, as saying that the availability of the tax credit had been decisive in the project shooting in its entirety in France.
“Without the tax credit, there would necessarily be arbitration on the shooting location, and the major filming would be done in the countries where there are tax shelters and where you can find the backdrops similar to France,” said the representative.
Overall, the two films shot for 140 days across France, against iconic backdrops such as Le Louvre and the Château de Fontainbleau, employing 2,000 crew, all of whom were French citizens.
The report also looked at the results for the TRIP, the impact of which has grown following the increase of its rebate from 20% to 30% in 2016.
The number of international productions tapping into the TRIP every year has quadrupled since then, from 24 in 2016 to 101 in 2023. International productions benefitting from the incentive spent €1.387 billion ($1.49) billion in France from 2016 to 2021.
Prior to the initial introduction of the TRIP in 2009, international productions spent around €50 million a year in France, in 2021 they spent €400 million.
The report noted that while feature films had initially accounted for most the TRIP-related spending, international drama series overtook in 2021 to now account for at least 60% of the annual incentivized spend.
It cited the example of Netflix hit Emily In Paris as a series that had been enticed to shoot almost in its entirety in France due to the TRIP.
Season 1 shot for 63 days in France, while Season 2 spent 75 days in the country. Overall, it spend €23 million ($23 million) in the territory and employed 500 local technicians.
In other case studies, the report suggested the TRIP has been a major factor in Universal Pictures’ decision to seal an exclusive financing and distribution partnership with the Paris-based animation studio Illumination Mac Guff.
It noted that since 2007, Universal Pictures had invested €634 million ($705 million) in France, which in turn had generated €383 million ($425 million) in public revenue.
The report noted, however, that a number of European territories offered incentives that were as good as and in some cases better than those offered by France.
In a comparison with the U.K., the report also highlighted the fact that its film, TV and video game fiscal incentive spend is nearly double that of France, with the territory putting €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) into incentives in 2022, against €544 million ($605 million) for France.
The number of film and TV productions supported by incentives in both territories is roughly the same, at 1,155 for the U.K. in 2022, against 1,062 for France. For video games, the U.K. is more active supporting 580 productions in 2022, against 37 in France.