"There are large and quite lucrative incentives for film producers to shoot their films elsewhere. For the most part, Los Angeles and California don't have that," said Gregory Freeman, vice president of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. and lead author of the study. "We largely compete by having a large infrastructure already in place."
Though filming at airport locations accounts for less than 1% of total production days in Los Angeles, the survey found, the availability of the facilities may have a ripple effect, leading crews to stay in Los Angeles for an entire project instead of opting for an out-of-state set.
"To the extent that we can keep even a part of the filming here, often the rest of the shoot will stay here," Freeman said. The study represents "a tremendous understatement of the overall positive impact that a film-friendly policy has on the L.A. economy," he added, stressing that the study considered only the impact of days shot on airport property.
Not everyone is thrilled with the prospect of more filming in and around the region's already busy airports.
When the Bruce Willis action move "Live Free or Die Hard" was being filmed next to LAX last fall, area residents, air cargo businesses and others raised concerns over the producers' intermittent closing of portions of the 105 Freeway and Imperial Highway. But the project went ahead, although with somewhat shortened shooting time.