I just talked to Jon Favreau a bit ago, and he said that while there hasn’t been an formal announcement on the sequel to “Iron Man,” he’s begun developing it. “We’re working on it now,” he said, “which hasn’t been officially announced. It will be released in 2010.”
No surprise there, of course. The first film in the franchise has pulled in well over a half-billion dollars in worldwide box office and was met with strong reviews.
As the state’s budget crisis continues, Sacramento certainly has money on its mind, but it’s hardly star-struck when it comes to Hollywood and its problems with runaway production.
Nevertheless, “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have become unexpected partners in a push to create tax breaks for film and television shows in an effort to keep their production in California, a political cause that has very little traction with state lawmakers and, to the governor’s chagrin, even less footing in celebrity fundraising circles.
There’s been a 40% decline in the number of film production days shot on location in Los Angeles since 1997, and the stampede east by the makers of high-profile projects is intensifying after New York Gov. David Paterson signed a bill in April delivering a lush new package of incentives.
Favreau is one the nice guys in the industry, and I think he has a lot of credibility. But I also think he will have a hard slog with this cause.
The stars who have the most political clout are also the ones who can already wire up their contracts with clauses that keep them home in L.A. (or get them a jet ride home on weekends). Also, most of them are liberals, who are not typically inclined to support corporate tax breaks. In Sacramento, meanwhile, there is not a lot of love on either side of the aisle for the concept of handing tax breaks to Hollywood studios. They also happen to have budget crisis underway.
I will tell you the governor definitely wants people (or perhaps just his old friends and once-and-future employers in Hollywood) to hear him right now on this topic. For this story, I got him on the phone (not the easiest thing to do on any day) in the middle a full-blown crisis and on the day after he announced the layoff of 10,000 state employees. Schwarzenegger cites “the push back” from state lawmakers as the reason he hasn’t gotten anywhere on this issue, but his critics, such as Nikki Finke, blame him for a lack of leadership. So the question now is whether the former action hero is just trying to rehabilitate his standing in Hollywood before he leaves office or if he sees some chance of actually making headway on this stagnant issue.
– Geoff Boucher
Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu / For the Times