Movie remake hits big screen thanks to $16.7 million from Michigan taxpayers
In the upcoming remake of the movie Red Dawn, the United States is invaded by North Korea.
But it wouldn't have happened without Michigan taxpayers.
The remake of the classic Patrick Swayze 1984 movie debuts Nov. 21. It was filmed in Michigan in 2009 and the film company received $16.7 million in film credits from Michigan taxpayers.
Now Michigan residents will get a chance to see what they paid for.
After it was shot, it was widely reported that the filmmakers changed the enemy to North Korea for fear that having China as the villain again would hurt sales in that country. In 2010, movies in China brought in $1.5 billion in revenue, according to The Los Angeles Times.
"We are far more likely to be taken over by North Korea than we are to actually benefit from the Hollywood film subsidies," said Leon Drolet, chairman of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. "The premise behind film subsidies relies more on science fiction than any movie plot ever produced by them."
Red Dawn was the biggest benefactor of film credits in 2009. The Michigan Film Office reported the movie makers spent $44.4 million in the state and got back $16.7 million, which was more than twice as big as the second largest award of $6.1 million. Although the movie was filmed in 2009, its release was stalled when MGM filed for bankruptcy in 2010.
In 2009, the state gave a refundable tax credit of up to 42 percent for production work in the state. That was changed last year to 32 percent. Earlier this year, the Republican-led legislature doubled the film subsidy program from $25 million to $50 million.
"These things are really expensive and ineffective at providing economic development," said James Hohman, a fiscal policy analyst with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.