California Ranks 1st for Most Film Productions, New York Falls to 6th

The most common shooting locations in the world might surprise you.

FilmLA, the not-for-profit film office that serves the greater Los Angeles area, has conducted an illuminating study on the preferred shooting locations of US feature films. To no one's great surprise, California leads the pack, but the remaining top five shooting locations give the presumed second—New York—a run for its money.

New York, which ranked second in the 2014 edition of this study, was knocked from the top five production locations​.​​

The 2015 Feature Film Production Study analyzed a random sample of 109 films released theatrically last year, identifying where they were filmed and how much money was spent on production. As it turned out, 19 of these films were made in California (16 live-action and three animated), bringing in an estimated $720 million in total production spending in the state. This abundance is largely due to California's proximity to Hollywood and its attractive tax incentive program, which provides studios with an opportunity to recoup a percentage of production costs. Some popular films shot in California last year were Straight Outta Compton and Insidious: Chapter 3

Credit: FilmLA

Los Angeles in particular was a premiere destination for productions in 2015: roughly 608 feature films shot in the greater LA area, up slightly from roughly 580 features the year before. The vast majority of these were independent films, suggesting that LA is a safe haven for low-budget fare.

In terms of project count, California’s top competitors were the UK (15 projects), Georgia and Louisiana (12 projects), and Canada (11 projects). New York, which ranked second in the 2014 edition of this study with 13 projects, was knocked from the top five production locations (seven projects).

Credit: FilmLA

Though fewer projects were produced in the UK, the country's total production budget spending exceeded that of California by 150%. From an economic standpoint, this number is more significant than the total project count, as one movie that spends $100 million has a bigger economic impact than 10 films with $5 million budgets. The UK's production tax incentive program is, in fact, more rewarding than California's—productions receive 20-25% of all qualifying local UK spend, above-the-line and below-the-line costs are covered (as well as back-end profit participation payments), and there is no annual cap. 

Last year, major American films such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jupiter Ascending, and Avengers: Age Of Ultron were shot in the UK.     

Top photo credit:  / Shutterstock

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Your Comment


Being from the UK (and working in VFX there) I am super happy that it is now being used so frequently for film shoots. It means in turn that the post production side also grows and means more work for all of the talented artists and creators we have.

Also gives me a great deal of pride knowing all these great films were shot here - especially Star Wars. I am a massive SW fan.

June 17, 2016 at 1:12AM


Fury Road was predominantly shot in Namibia and South Africa.

June 17, 2016 at 7:07AM


LOL at all the people who said LA was dying

June 17, 2016 at 10:45PM


I moved from LA to Atlanta six years ago, for personal reasons, not for the industry moving here. I don't know how many films were shot in LA, but there were far more than 15 shot in Georgia last year. There were about half a dozen big budget films shot in my neighborhood alone, not to mention all the small budgets and episodics that are always shooting. According to the Georgia film commission there were over 50 major episodic and feature films shot here and like I said, that does not include small independents. I love LA and miss it, I lived there for 21 years but I have had dozens of friends who have moved or are moving from LA because there is no work there. I don't know who is putting out the numbers in the article but they are not correct, at the very least they are misrepresented.

June 18, 2016 at 1:31PM

Wes Llewellyn

Great article, and happy to see Georgia on the list thats the hot one people are talking about, but you left out Minnesota - (Minneapolis/St Paul)
Hollywood has consistently produced feature films up there since the early 80's - the Cohen Brothers have an office there and have shot films in the State. Adding to production is one of the most vibrant music scenes still left in the country and you have a wealth of music videos being produced there as well, compounded with TV commercials ( a friend of mine just got off a 2 week Target commercial -MPLS is second to NYC for fortune 500 companies based in that city) Two feature films are slated to be shot in the twin cities this year. One starting Greg Kinnear. I do not live there but when taking to friends in the twin cities everyone seems to be working!

June 18, 2016 at 1:57PM

Filmmaker and Photographer

Can't take this survey seriously without data on Bollywood and China, let alone the rest of Europe.
Perhaps it should be relabeled 'Ranks for English Language Films'.

June 23, 2016 at 1:00AM

Stewart Fairweather