New Jersey’s largest film studio, which expects to host up to four “major” television and film productions per year, has opened in Jersey City.
Gov. Phil Murphy joined in the massive ribbon cutting of the new studio on Friday, saying the project was exactly what he hoped for when he revived the state’s dormant tax incentives to lure big Hollywood companies into the Garden State.
“New Jersey is where cinema started, and we are quickly regaining our reputation as a premier location for film and television production,” the governor said in a statement.
The Criterion Group announced in 2019 its intention to convert a warehouse in the industrial part of Jersey City into Cinelease Studios, Caven Point, with nearly 70,000 square feet of stage space on three sound stages.
The Criterion Group purchased the 5.6-acre property at 21 Caven Point Avenue for $ 16.75 million.
The studio plans to book two to four “major” film and television productions each year, employing hundreds of film technicians, the governor’s office said.
“New Jersey has long been a significant and often striking backdrop for filmmaking, from independents to modern streamers and blockbusters,” Gannon Murphy, chief executive of Cinelease Studios, said in a statement. “As Cinelease Studios, Caven Point opens its doors to film and television, our studio clients, filmmakers and content creators no longer see New Jersey as the background. We are now the main character.
Murphy, a Democrat and the Democratic-controlled state legislature reinstated the controversial film tax incentive program in 2018 after a three-year hiatus. In 2020, they expanded the program and renewed it until 2028.
Former Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who criticized the tax credits given to “Jersey Shore,” the reality show starring Snooki and the situation that Christie said reinforced negative stereotypes of New Jersey, allowed the program to expire and vetoed efforts to revive it.
The tax credits have attracted production companies ranging from independent productions to some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Steven Spielberg’s remake “West Side Story” which was shot in Paterson and Newark received $ 6.9 million, while “Joker” received $ 2 million and $ 10.2 million was donated to HBO’s adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel ” The Plot Against America “.
Critics argue that tax credits do not provide enough return on investment, in the form of permanent full-time jobs.
Jersey Journal Editor Ron zeitlinger contributed to this report.
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