Lionsgate Expands New Jersey Production Ties

Lionsgate Expands New Jersey Production Ties

New Jersey has given Lionsgate a “Studio Partner” designation as the state expands its tax credit program to draw more high-profile film and TV projects to shoot locally.

The Hollywood studio, long with an eye to controlling production costs, will now see additional above-the-line wage and salary costs as qualifying expenses to be offset by New Jersey’s film tax credit program.

Lionsgate has been increasing its production footprint in the Tri-State area as its Lions Gate Films division becomes the anchor tenant in a $125 million Newark, New Jersey studio complex, Lionsgate Newark Studios, to be owned and operated by Robert Halmi’s Great Point Studios.

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In 2019, the company revealed that it will also anchor a $100 million studio complex in Yonkers, 20 minutes from Manhattan, built by Great Point Capital Management, a media-focused investment fund run by Halmi, president and CEO of Hallmark Entertainment, and Fehmi Zeko.

New Jersey’s long-running film tax credit program, which offers a 30 percent to 35 percent offset on qualifying expenses for film and TV projects shot in the state, was extended this past January to 2034. Lionsgate will be eligible for new tax credit bonuses after agreeing to occupy 253,000 square feet of the Newark Studios complex, which has just begun construction and is expected to be completed with 350,000 square feet of available production space by Sept. 2024.

Lionsgate will be able to offset qualifying above-the-line wages and other payments made to high-cost creatives like directors, producers, writers and performers. Lionsgate Newark Studios will be the first purpose-built studio in New Jersey constructed for TV and film production, with five soundstages ranging from 20,000 to 30,000 square feet and additional space for production services on site.

Lionsgate’s film and TV franchises include Mad Men, Orange Is the New Black, The Hunger Games, John Wick, Saw, Dirty Dancing, The Expendables, La La Land and the Twilight saga.