Another week, another Hollywood fundraiser for President Obama. And why not? From George Clooney’s house in Los Angeles to Sarah Jessica Parker’s townhouse in Manhattan, the Hollywood crowd has been a virtual ATM for the Obama campaign.
All that Hollywood cash has helped pay for ads hammering Mitt Romney for maximizing profits by shipping American jobs overseas during his time at the helm of Bain Capital. But Hollywood knows a thing or two about outsourcing too.
Movie-making is big business, of course. And, when it comes to maximizing profits, the President’s top celebrity supporters have benefited from from outsourcing, Hollywood-style.
Here’s a fresh example: “The Dark Knight Rises,” starring Morgan Freeman (who recently gave Priorities USA, the Obama SuperPAC, $1 million) and Ann Hathaway (who is co-hosting an Obama fundraiser with Harvey Weinstein tonight). There is no more quintessentially American city than Gotham. But where were half the Gotham scenes shot? In the United Kingdom and China. Going overseas may have meant fewer jobs for American workers, but, presumably some tax breaks and fewer union rules.
And then there’s Hollywood legend Harvey Weinstein, who is hosting tonight’s high-dollar fundraiser for President Obama. Mr. Weinstein’s long list of movie credits includes many films that, that although set in the United States, were filmed primarily in foreign countries. Outsourcing, pure and simple.
UPDATE: The Motion Picture Association of America argues out that the American movie industry is a significant source of jobs in the United States, a driver of the domestic economy and a sector that boasts a big trade surplus.
“The industry supports 2.1 million jobs across the country and in states like Louisiana, North Carolina and Georgia, where tax incentives have helped the industry explode over the past few years, the industry is actually a huge domestic economic driver,” says MPAA spokesman Kate Bedingfield.
The raw numbers suggest Bedingfield is correct: There were $13.5 billion in film and television exports in 2010. The industry has created jobs in some unlikely places. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, the movie industry was responsible for 81,119 jobs (and $3.5 billon in wages) in Georgia; 21,271 jobs in Louisiana and 26,992 jobs in North Carolina.
Bedingfield also takes issue with our mention of the movie The Dark Knight Rises, which was shot, in part, in the United Kingdom and Canada. Bedingfield points out that major parts of the film’s production was also done in the United States, creating lots of jobs here at home.
Here are some of the movies set in U.S. locations, but produced in foreign countries and how much they raised at the box office.
A. “The Legend of Zorro”
B. Domestic Gross: $46,464,023
C. 5 out of 5 locations were foreign: Mexico, New Zealand
D. Set in California
A. “The Dark Knight”
B. Domestic Gross: $533,345,358
C. 21 of 38 locations were foreign: China & UK
D. Chinese scenes are meant to take place in China, but scenes shot in U.K. were meant to be in the fictional city of Gotham (American)
A. “The Dark Knight Rises”
B. Domestic Gross: $160,887,295 (as of Jul. 22)
C. 13 of 26 locations were foreign: China & UK
D. Indian/Romanian scenes are meant to take place in the Middle East, but U.K. scenes are meant to take place in fictional city of Gotham (American)