'Transformers 4' Taking $20M from Taxpayers

The Michigan Film Office has chosen to give $20 million from the pockets of taxpayers to a movie franchise that has made more than $2 billion.

The Detroit Free Press reports that “Transformers 4” will get the subsidy to shoot its next installment in Michigan.

“In general, they’re just going to go wherever they get the most subsidies,” Research Associate Jarrett Skorup told the Free Press. The last Transformers movie received corporate welfare not just from Michigan but also from Illinois and Florida. It grossed $1.1 billion.

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Several temporary jobs will be created during filming at Michigan Motion Picture Studios in Pontiac. The studio has missed three payments on an $18 million bond obligation. Those payments were covered by state employee retirement funds — already underfunded by tens of billions of dollars — through a deal made by then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2010.

The studio’s financial difficulties come despite the fact that it was the filming location for the recently released “Oz: The Great and Powerful.” That movie was subsidized with $40 million from the pockets of Michigan taxpayers, despite the fact Disney had record profits of $4.8 billion in 2011.

Read more about Michigan’s film subsidy program in Michigan Capitol Confidential.


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