The last week has seen filming begin on Captain Marvel, even though shooting will then take a hiatus until March. It's an unusual move, but the reason has finally been revealed; tax breaks.
Last week, Brie Larson - the star of Captain Marvel - headed to Atlanta, possibly to film additional photography for Avengers: Infinity War. This week, though, she's headed to California to begin filming for the hero's solo film. It's a surprising move on Marvel's part, because filming will only continue for a week, before production goes on hiatus until March. Some fans have been quite confused about this odd bit of scheduling.
In a smart piece of detective work, MCUExchange has learned that there's a simple reason: tax breaks. Captain Marvel is filming under a separate LLC, appropriately named "Warbird LLC." Set photos have made it clear that this is the production company working in California.
MCUExchange did some digging into public records, and learned that the California Film Commission offered Warbird LLC substantial tax breaks in order to film in the state. 92 studios and independent features applied for tax breaks; the CFC approved eight of them. Captain Marvel was awarded tax credits that totaled a whopping $20,756,000. Needless to say, Marvel decided to conduct principal photography in California in order to earn these tax credits. As a result, Captain Marvel is the first Marvel Studios movie to shoot in California since Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
But there were strings attached. In order to claim those tax credits, Captain Marvel had to begin principal photography in California within 180 days. If Marvel held off on filming until March, they'd lose those tax breaks. In a further fascinating detail, Marvel can begin principal photography and then pause filming for up to 120 days without losing the tax break. That's why Marvel is beginning filming without the complete cast and crew, but will then put the production on pause and continue when they're ready. It's a smart business strategy to ensure the studio gets those tax breaks.
Superhero fans tend to put together elaborate conspiracy theories. The truth is often far simpler, and this is one of those cases. Marvel's strange decisions are motivated by one basic reason; they make financial sense. Marvel adjusted their filming schedule in order to earn those tax breaks; they chose to start principal photography a couple of months ahead of schedule. Shooting is expected to continue for just a week, and then to start again in March.
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