Successful films like Jurassic World, Twelve Years a Slave, The Big Short, and Daddy's Home, all have something in common. They were all shot in Louisiana. Hollywood South created over 33,000 jobs in 2014 and attracted people from all over the world.
Film productions first flocked to the state because of industry tax breaks making filming movies here really cheap. But in the summer of 2015, Louisiana legislators passed a few new laws aimed at tightening those tax breaks. One of those laws went into effect immediately, one went into effect at the beginning of 2016. The last one goes into effect this summer.The fallout
Relatively soon after the new laws were passed ABC announced they were pulling productions from Louisiana. WGNO found out later in an interview with the Executive Director at Celtic Studios
, Patrick Mulhearn, that ABC only pulled out to get a better understanding of the new laws that confused many people in and out the industry.So is Hollywood South coming to an end?
Christopher Stelly, the Executive Director of Louisiana Entertainment
, says "
Now we do admit that there was a slight impact. Nothing has really changed. It has been a lot of bad information that we're trying to dispel some of those rumors."
Stelly adds that we are not just competing with the other states in our country, but we are competing against the world. "I never looked at us as a way to take business from other areas, or the world, or to put someone else out of the business. I like to think of us as having our own unique place in this industry where we complement with other jurisdictions are doing because no one does it like Louisiana."
"Right now the applications are certainly coming in almost the same as it was in 2014. So I don't think there's much to worry about. Per capita we still do a considerable amount of business," Christopher Stelly says.
So there you have it! Louisiana is still booming with productions and good ones too. On Thursday, we found out that two films shot in Hollywood South received Oscar nominations. That's The Big Short for Best Picture and Actor Bryan Cranston received a nomination for Best Actor in Trumbo."Hollywood South is not slowing down." WGNO. wgno.com. Jabari Thomas. Web. 14 January 2016. <http://wgno.com/2016/01/14/hollywood-south-is-not-slowing-down/>.
Filming in Louisiana could come to an end.
Last week's decision by lawmakers will affect many people who work in the film business in Louisiana. The final decision was to cap film productions at $180 million, which opponents say will eliminate the movie industry in Louisiana and it could affect nearly 30,000 jobs. Now is the time to take a stand and fight to eliminate this from happening.
Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association has put out a petition for people who want to fight HB 829 and keep the film industry going!
To sign the petition CLICK HERE!
It’s one of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments about three-quarters of the way through “Pitch Perfect 2”: The main cast, after having traveled to Denmark, sets out to explore Copenhagen. If you look close, however, their “Copenhagen” is actually New Orleans, filmed in Pirate Alley adjacent to St. Louis Cathedral and, with a little help from computer animators, for a second or two in Jackson Square itself. It’s hardly the first time Louisiana has doubled for another locale, however. Here's a look at other times the city has masqueraded as other places on the big screen.
15. THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST.
South Louisiana might not exactly look like the Pacific Northwest when it comes to outdoor vistas, but that didn’t stop producers of “21 Jump Street” and “22 Jump Street” -- set in an unnamed Pacific Northwest city -- from shooting both action comedies here. They did it convincingly, too -- although there are some tell-tale signs, such as a Rouse’s grocery store visible in the background in one scene in “22 Jump Street.” Interestingly, the “Jump Street” movies aren’t the only time the Bayou State has doubled for the Pacific Northwest. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1” and “Part 2” were both set there but were shot largely in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
14. LAS VEGAS.
This one’s kind of a no-brainer, actually, given that many see Vegas and New Orleans as sister cities of sin. As a result, the Big Easy has doubled for the gambling mecca multiple times, including in Diablo Cody’s 2013 dramatic comedy “Paradise” (pictured) and Bruce Willis’ 2012 film “Lay the Favorite.”
When Jason Statham and Ben Foster rappelled down a skyscraper in 2011’s “The Mechanic,” they were supposed to be in the Windy City. Anybody familiar with the New Orleans riverfront, however, knows exactly what building it was: the distinctive World Trade Center. Among the trickiest parts, according to director Simon West: Avoiding including palm trees in the frame, which aren’t exactly indigenous to Chicago.
12. NORTH CAROLINA.
Some transformations are easier than others. For example, when New Orleans had to double for North Carolina in the 2012 Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis comedy “The Campaign,” it didn’t have to do much, given that both regions have a certain Southern flair. Among locations used by the film: the Gretna town square, Chalmette High School football stadium, Magnolia Baptist Church in Madisonville, the West Bank Lions Club and the old State Place Theater in downtown New Orleans.
11. OUTER SPACE.
It’s so fitting it feels like it was scripted: Amid NASA’s transition from the Space Shuttle program to its next generation of space flight, part of the massive NASA Assembly Facility in eastern New Orleans was converted into a sound stage. Among the films to shoot there: the 2013 sci-fi adventure “Ender’s Game,” starring Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford -- and set mostly in space.
For the 2013 fantasy adventure “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters,” the film’s main characters travel to a mythological island named after the Greek goddess Circe -- and home to the Cyclops Polyphemus. Director Thor Freudenthal’s choice of locations to shoot the scene: the shuttered Six Flags Amusement Park, giving locals one last chance to see the Mega-Zeph roller coaster in action.
9. COAST CITY.
Like Circeland, Coast City isn’t a real place. Rather, it was invented by DC Comics’ John Brooke and Gil Kane as the California-like setting for their “Green Lantern” series. (Think of it as Green Lantern's Metropolis or Gotham.) So, when director Martin Campbell’s 2011 film version of the superhero story shot in New Orleans, the Big Easy become Coast City, right down to having Lakefront Airport double as the headquarters of the fictional Ferris Aircraft, one of the largest employers in Coast City (pictured).
8. OLD MEXICO.
When the comic-book-inspired “Jonah Hex” shot in town, it used New Orleans to double for a number of places, including the frontier town of Stunk Crick, Washington, D.C., as well as a dusty Mexican pueblo -- which was actually built on the very green grass of City Park.
Geographically, Texas and Louisiana are fairly close. Visually, however, they can be night and day. That hasn’t stopped a number of productions from shooting Texas-set stories in the Bayou State. Among them: “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Hot Pursuit” and Emile Hirsch and Matthew McConaughey’s 2011 drama “Killer Joe,” which shot at -- among other places -- the old Six Flags New Orleans theme park (pictured).
In director Rian Johnson’s sci-fi thriller “Looper,” Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis have a memorable encounter in a Midwest corn field. The secret: It wasn’t the Midwest. And it wasn’t corn. Rather, it was shot in sugar cane fields in Southern Louisiana.
Although it’s set almost exclusively in Hawaii and in the open waters of the Pacific, director Peter Berg’s 2012 “Battleship” was actually shot largely in and around Baton Rouge. Much of the local scenes were shot on a sound stage, although the production also shot for a time aboard the USS Kidd, which is moored in Baton Rouge, and at a local convenience store. Louisiana and Hawaii were also both shooting locations for “Jurassic World,” set on the fictional island of Isla Nublar.
4. SAN FRANCISCO.
2014’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was set in the Bay Area, but the bulk of it was shot in the New Orleans area. That included a set built at the old Six Flags New Orleans site, which doubled for the rustic “apes village” (pictured), as well as another set at the corner of Common and North Rampart streets downtown that doubled as a human village. Perhaps most impressively, a scene set on the iconic Golden Gate Bridge was actually shot on a local interstate overpass, then dressed up with computer graphics to make it look the part.
3. THE WHITE HOUSE.
In the 2013 Gerard Butler action film “Olympus Has Fallen,” the White House falls under attack from a terror cell. For obvious reasons, custodians of the real White House were reluctant to let director Antoine Fuqua’s production blow up the real thing, so they built a convincing facsimile in the Shreveport area and blew that one up instead. It is pictured at left. Note where the crew stopped paying attention to detail at the building's unfinished roofline, which was apparently not supposed to appear in the frame.
2. NEW YORK CITY.
The Big Easy has actually doubled for the Big Apple a number of times. Among them: in the New York-set crime thriller “Broken City,” starring Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg. Although it’s set almost entirely in New York City, the film only shot there for a couple of days, to collect establishing exterior shots. The rest was filmed in New Orleans.
1. LOS ANGELES.
There’s something ironic about a big Hollywood movie like “Battle Los Angeles” packing their bags and using the “other” La. to stand in for their L.A. But that’s exactly what happened with director Jonathan Liebesman’s sci-fi thriller (among other movies), which shot all over the state, including at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, doubling as Santa Monica Airport. Other movies set in Los Angeles but shot largely in Louisiana include “This is the End” and “The D Train.”
"15 Locations Louisiana has Masqueraded As On-screen" The Times-Picayune. Nola.com. Mike Scott. Web. 19 May 2015. ‹http://www.nola.com/movies/index.ssf/2015/05/filming_in_new_orleans_hollywood_south.html#0›.
A century before New Orleans was dubbed “Hollywood South,” the Crescent City was poised to become a major center for silent film studios. Producer Eve Abrams spoke with Tulane professor of communications Vicki Mayer about her Summer 2015 article for Louisiana Cultural Vistas Magazine
, “Film Follies
,” and about how the movie industry, culture, and the political economy intersect in Louisiana.
This isn’t the first time we’ve tangoed with the film economy. In fact, New Orleans was sighted multiple times in the early 1900’s by film creators from New York and Chicago who were looking for a southern location in order to open a film studio. Probably the most serious attempt was by Selig Polyscope Company, who were completely gung-ho that New Orleans was going to be the next New York for silent film production.
Within 6 months, he hopped the first train and established the first Hollywood film studio. But after those people with loads of film experience came and left, people in New Orleans got a bit of the film bug and decided they were going to do it on their own. And so there were two to three different studios between 1912 and 1919 that opened and closed in Bayou Saint John.Why didn’t it work?
Well, I think a lot of it had to do with basic economics. The key to film production is really distribution. All the distributors were still in New York. And the reason I think we’re not so familiar with it today is that intervening the silent film economy and the global film economy was 70 years where Hollywood was the dominant location and production place, but it’s with the globalization of the film industry that suddenly you have all these Hollywood South, Hollywood North, Hollywood East, Hollywood Wests, popping up all over the world.
French director Rene Plaisetty shot a film under the company name "Nola Film." The newspaper said Nola sounded like a "pretty girl's name."
Credit Louisiana Research CollectionSo with the silent film industry, Hollywood had not yet established itself?
That’s right. So New Orleans was actually looked towards – along with Jacksonville, Atlanta, Memphis – as potential sites where that companies from New York were going to go and move their operations because they were looking for places where they could produce year long, they were looking for places that were close to easy transportation because all the film stock was still produced in the Northeast. New Orleans fit the bill in really almost all the categories.Can we talk about what’s going on currently going on with film in New Orleans?
The Louisiana region, a.k.a Hollywood South, since 2002, has had one of the most generous tax incentives for the production of major motion pictures and television series, and last year, Louisiana surpassed southern California in the production of major productions.And can we talk a little about what those tax incentives are? Can you break it down? What are we giving them, and what are they giving us?
That’s the debate. The policy is: any production that has a budget over $300,000 can apply for what’s called a tradable tax credit. That credit gives them 30 percent off all of their expenditures made in Louisiana, plus an extra 5 percent for any labor that is contracted that has local residency.
So really, when a production company is seeking to produce, they’re no longer seeking necessarily the location that best fits the script, they’re seeking the location with the cheapest bottom line, and right now that bottom line is cheapest in Louisiana. But a production company that’s based in California doesn’t have a local Louisiana tax burden, so they have to off-load these credits. So the way they do it is there’s this whole other market that’s been created for taxpayers who often would owe a minimum of $5,000 or $10,000 in taxes to then bundle the tax credits, purchase them, and then get a tax credit for themselves.
So let’s say I work for an oil and gas company in Louisiana and I have very high tax burden. The policy is such that I can go through a film tax credit broker and purchase some of these tax credits.So who are the companies that are actually benefiting?
It has not been transparent as to who buys these tax credits.And so what are we supposedly gaining?
What the state is getting has been a moving target. The earliest policy in 1990 was really motivated around promoting the state. But as I said, productions can be anywhere now and New Orleans, our city, will stand in for Memphis, New York, Metropolis USA. So that rationale then gave way to another rationale that it creates local jobs. And we have been growing the local labor force, but not nearly to the capacity that would be needed, so a lot of the labor that is used for production actually comes from the outside.
So now they’ll talk about multiplier effects, and all the dollars that are spent here and not somewhere else. Whenever you have any visitor to the city, they take hotel rooms, they eat in nice restaurants, and those dollars are then combined in the state's estimates of what are the positive impacts of the film economy.
The thing about the film industry which is really interesting is that many people would support economic incentives for film industries that they wouldn’t for other industries. Culturally there’s an aura around the industry that allows people to have a kind of conversation that filters into economic policy.
But to make film production into the bad guy would not be my intention. It’s government’s job to try to try to mobilize that industry through some kind of investment. It’s a very typical public-private partnership strategy. That said, it’s an incentive. It’s not meant to be a permanent subsidy. Most of these film tax credit policies were started under the promise that at a certain point the industry would be established on its own and those would be sunset. Right now we’re 13 years into it and the sunset provisions were repealed by the state.Was part of your intent: to have the current citizens of Louisiana be thinking about the past so that we think differently about the present?
I think what I want to do with all my research is have more of a public discussion around those industries. I’ve been disappointed that the debate has been so limited to people’s personal experiences – with seeing actors or getting a gig. I mean, those things are important, but I’d like us to have a larger view.
If we want to have a film economy here, what’s the way it should be structured so we avoid some of the excesses that we saw in the early 20th Century?"Hollywood South Is New Orlean's Second Go At Becoming A Center For Film Industry" WGNO. Eve Abrams. Web. 13 May 2015. ‹http://wwno.org/post/hollywood-south-new-orleans-second-go-becoming-center-film-industry›.
Kurt Russell is joining the New Orleans cast of director Peter Berg's drama "Deepwater Horizon," and "Maze Runner" actor Dylan O'Brien might not be too far behind, according to online reports. Russell and O'Brien would join previously announced cast member Mark Wahlberg in the film, which will focus on the deadly 2010 oil-rig explosion that lead to the BP oil spill.
O'Brien would play Caleb Holloway, the youngest member of the surviving crew, according to Deadline, which first reported his casting talks Friday afternoon (April 10). Russell's involvement was reported about an hour later by Variety, although it's unclear what part he would play.
Based on a script by Matthew Michael Carnahan -- which in turn is based on The New York Times article "Deepwater Horizon's Final Hour" -- Berg's film will focus on the chain of events playing out in the hours leading up to the massive oil-rig explosion of April 20, 2010. Eleven members of the rig's crew were killed in the aftermath of the explosion, 17 others were injured, and an estimated 3.19 million barrels of oil -- or about 133.9 million gallons -- were loosed into the Gulf of Mexico.
Berg's film, which is shooting under the working title "The Long Night," aims to put the focus squarely on the human drama of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy.
"I want to make a film about people," Berg said last month in an extended interview about the film."... Everybody knows that there was a horrible environmental disaster. Everybody knows that a lot of animals were killed. But what people don't know is 11 men were killed and many more were injured, and there were some real heroes on that rig. That was a very compelling human story -- and that's the story we all want to tell."
Lionsgate, Participant Media and Lorenzo di Bonaventura are producing "Deepwater Horizon" for Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment shingle. Principal photography is expected to start in May and last for nearly three months. The movie is scheduled for theatrical release on Sept. 30, 2016.
"Kurt Russell joining 'Deepwater Horizon' cast; Dylan O'Brien in talks, reports say." Nola.com | The Times Picayune. Mike Scott. Web. 11 April 2015. ‹http://www.nola.com/movies/index.ssf/2015/04/kurt_russell_deepwater_horizon.html›.
NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) –
The new numbers and statistics are in! The film industry is growing every year in Hollywood South and according to the President of Louisiana Film Entertainment Association, William French, we are getting to where we need to be. French also says that Hollywood South ranks number one for films shooting in North America.
Watch the raw video of the interview with French above.
To support the film industry in Hollywood South, and where you can write a message to Governor Bobby Jindal, state senators, and state representatives explaining how the entertainment industry has affected you. Click HERE
. "Economic Impact In Hollywood South." WGNO. Jabari Thomas. Web. 12 April 2015. ‹http://wgno.com/2015/04/12/economic-impact-of-hollywood-south/›.
Willem Dafoe To Star In ‘Hunter Killer’ Thriller For RelativityEXCLUSIVE: Willem Dafoe
is joining Gerard Butler, Billy Bob Thornton and Common for Relativity Studios
’ submarine thriller Hunter Killer
. The film concerns a renegade Russian military leader whose actions lead to the brink of war with the U.S. It’s then up to an elite U.S. Navy unit to stop him from causing World War III. Dafoe has been cast as Russian submarine Capt. Andropoyov.
Martin Campbell (Casino Royale
, Green Lantern
) directs from a script by Peter Craig, based on the novel Firing Point
by George Wallace and Don Keith. Produced by Original Films’ Neil Moritz and Toby Jaffe, in association with Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh, it’s executive produced by Tucker Tooley, Arne Schmidt, and Butler. Hunter Killer
is scheduled to begin filming in New Orleans in July.
Dafoe will next be seen in alongside Matt Damon in The Great Wall
, directed by Zhang Yimou. He’s repped by CAA and Circle of Confusion.
"Willem Dafoe To Star In ‘Hunter Killer’ Thriller For Relativity." deadline.com. Ross A. Lincoln. Web. 10 April 2015. ‹http://deadline.com/2015/04/willem-dafoe-hunter-killer-submarine-movie-1201408020/›.
"The Film Festival at French Quarter Festival," presented by local film organization Timecode:NOLA, brings three days worth of free screenings to Le Petite Theatre, 616 St. Peter Street. All the films spotlight New Orleans music and culture. Here's the full schedule, complete with festival-supplied descriptions:
Friday, April 10
11:00 a.m. — Buckwheat’s World. A behind-the-scenes peek at the life and music of Buckwheat Zydeco.
12 noon — Streetcar Stories. Broadcast documentary explores the cultural history of New Orleans streetcars and the US streetcar industry.
1:30 p.m. Always for Pleasure. Les Blank's classic documentary celebration of the Mardi Gras.
3:00 p.m. All on a Mardi Gras Day. The story of New Orleans’ black carnival traditions: the Zulus, Indians, Baby Dolls, Skeletons and the men and women who carried on these traditions for over a century.
Saturday, April 11
11:00 a.m. Spend it All. Portrait of the Cajun lifestyle in Southwest Louisiana.
12:30 p.m. Fats Domino: Walkin’ Back To New Orleans. A one-hour documentary and concert special that combines interviews, vintage footage, and a recent concert taped at Tipitina’s.
2:00 p.m. He’s the Prettiest: A Salute to Big Chief Allison “Tootie” Montana’s 50 Years of Mardi Gras Indian Suiting. A documentary chronicling Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Allison “Tootie” Montana.
3:00 p.m. Real New Orleans. This series of humorous videos was written by and starred the late Eddie Kurtz in the 1980s.
Sunday, April 12
11:00 a.m. This Cat Can Play Anything. A portrayal of the life and musical career of New Orleans banjo and guitar jazzman Emanuel "Manny" Sayles.
12:00 p.m. Louisiana Music Video Showcase. Various music videos from such artists as Preservation Hall Band, the Bingo Show, Timothea and more.
1:30 p.m. A Tribute to Toussaint. A concert documentary film celebrating the musical career of Allen Toussaint.
3:00 p.m. Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans. A tale of hope, heartbreak and resiliency set in New Orleans’ most fascinating neighborhood.
SOURCE: "French Quarter Fest includes free film screenings at Le Petit Theatre." Gambit. Ken Korman. Web. 9 April 2015. ‹http://www.bestofneworleans.com/blogofneworleans/archives/2015/04/09/french-quarter-fest-includes-free-film-screenings-at-le-petite-theatre›.
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The success of the Louisiana film industry cannot be argued. Its impact, however, may be up for debate.
The success of the Louisiana film industry cannot be argued. Its impact, however may be uA state sponsored economic impact study said that in 2013 the film industry brought in around $1.2 billion in sales and generated more than 13,000 direct and indirect jobs.
However, a new study sponsored by the Louisiana Film Entertainment Association and the Motion Pictures Association of America puts those numbers closer to nearly $4 billion in sales and more than 33,000 jobs.
While the studies vary in their methodology, their biggest difference comes down to tourism.
Unlike the previous study, the LFEA's study attempted to calculate the economic impact films had through tourism. The study surveyed nearly 1,400 tourist to Louisiana. More than 14 percent of those said they visited the state because of what they saw on the big screen.
According to study author, Shuprotim Bhaumik, tourism generated by the big screen generated more than $2 billion in economic output. Bhaumik also pointed out that the state still just breaks even on the investments, earning by his calculations about a dollar back for every dollar spent.
Industry insiders say the new study illustrates the rippling benefits of the state film tax credits.
"It's a little more difficult when you start looking at the economic multipliers and the bigger picture, which is the film industry is generating jobs that don't get studied, and nobody really takes into account the effect it takes on tourism," said Patrick Mulhearn of Celtic Media.
Mulhearn says he is not surprised at what he calls an amazing impact of film on tourism. He recalls that when Twilight was filming in Baton Rouge, fans from as far away as France would come to the studio's gates hoping to spot a celebrity.
Mulhearn is also hoping the study has an impact on lawmakers who will be considering several bills to change or adjust the film tax credits.
Senator JP Morrell has proposed a bills to cap the credits at $300 million a year.
"By putting caps in place to know how much could be out there and called in in a given year, the legislature can budget around it, creating predictability and know it's not going to create a budget crisis," said Morrell.
The state's study can be reviewed here
, and the industry's study can be reviewed here
Copyright 2015 WAFB
. All rights reserved."New study looks at tourism, economic impact of Hollywood South" WAFB. Elizabeth Vowell. Web. 6 April 2015. ‹http://www.wafb.com/story/28735113/new-study-looks-at-the-tourism-economic-impact-of-hollywood-south›.
With the summer movie season fast approaching, moviegoers around the world can soon expect to get an eyeful of Louisiana, whether they realize it or not. Among the season’s blockbusters-in-waiting that were shot in-state: “Pitch Perfect 2,” “Jurassic World,” “Terminator: Genisys” and “The Fantastic Four.” But while those certainly represent some of the year’s higher-profile Louisiana-shot films, the local film industry hasn’t exactly been absent from theaters through the first quarter of 2015. Here’s an updated Hollywood South scorecard, which takes a look at how local movies have fared so far this year.
6. 'KIDNAPPING MR. HEINEKEN.'The gist
: Anthony Hopkins stars in a true-life crime drama, shot partly in New Orleans, about the kidnapping and ransom of beer magnate Freddy Heineken. Released March 6.The reception
: Director Daniel Alfredson’s film was released in theaters the same day it landed on various on-demand platforms, which suggests a certain lack of confidence on the part of distributor Alchemy. It was warranted, as it holds a lowly 21 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.The box office
5. 'THE LOFT.'The gist
: James Marsden stars in a remake of the Dutch thriller of the same name, about a group of friends who find themselves at the center of a bloody crime when a body turns up in the secret apartment they share for elicit affairs. Released Jan. 30.The reception
: After seeing its release delayed not just by months but by years
, not to mention a mid-stream switch in distributors, moviegoers were justified in approaching with caution. Director Erik Van Looy’s film is the worst-reviewed film on this list. RottenTomatoes score: 13 percent. The box office:
$6 million (North America)*.* Box office figures via BoxOfficeMojo.
4. 'HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2.'The gist
: Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry and Clark Duke reteam for a sequel to the R-rated goofball comedy -- shot, and set, in New Orleans -- about a group of dummies who wreak havoc with a time machine. Released Feb. 20.The reception
: Unlike the 2010 initial installment -- which had the added benefit of John Cusack in the cast and no small amount of 1980s referential humor -- critics weren’t charmed by this follow-up, slapping it with a lowly 16 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.(Read my “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” review here.)The box office
: $12.3 million (North America).
3. 'BLACK OR WHITE.'The gist
: Kevin Costner stars in a race drama, set in Los Angeles but shot in New Orleans under the title “Black and White,” about a grieving widower who becomes embroiled in a custody fight over his mixed-race granddaughter. Released Jan. 30.The reception
: Reviews were decidedly mixed, with praise for its willingness to raise serious questions but criticism for not exploring them deeply enough. Rotten Tomatoes score: 37 percent. (Read my “Black or White” review here.
)The box office
: $21 million (North America).
2. 'GET HARD.'The gist
: Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart star in a race comedy -- also set in Los Angeles but shot in New Orleans -- about a clueless investment banker who hires the nearest black guy to prepare him for a stint in prison. Released March 27.The reception
: Director Etan Cohen’s film was unfairly labeled as racist and homophobic upon its premiere at SXSW, but critics didn’t have nearly as big a problem with the film’s willfully offensive content as they did with the fact that it just wasn’t funny enough (Read my “Get Hard” review here).The box office: $57 million domestically, with another $10.3 million internationally*.* Figures are incomplete, as “Get Hard” is still playing in theaters.
1. 'FOCUS.'The gist
: Will Smith stars in a romantic caper comedy, partly shot and set in New Orleans, about a con man who breaks the cardinal rule of the grifting game: He falls in love.The reception
: Reviews were mixed but leaning toward positive, with many critics noting the on-screen chemistry shared by Smith and co-star Margot Robbie. Rotten Tomatoes score: 55 percent. (Read my “Focus” review here
.)The box office
: $52 million domestically, with another $91 million internationally."Hollywood South Scorecard." The Times Picayune. Mike Scott. Web. 7 April 2015. 2015. ‹http://www.nola.com/movies/index.ssf/2015/04/hollywood_south_scorecard_what.html#0›.