Movie Production Companies Take Government Tax Breaks And Send Musician Jobs Overseas by Alex Walsh

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equalizerWhat?!

I learned about this when I got to work on Monday. My first thought was: ”Does Denzel know?”

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I went to the movies last weekend with my wife.

“Two for Denzel,” I said when we got to the counter.

“Oh, you mean the Equalizer,” said the college-age cashier.

“Yes,” I said.

Tickets were $32. For two! Oh my God!

My wife and I made a quick decision. We wanted to see Denzel. In that moment it was worth it.

We learned from the cashier that the corporate overlords, I mean, movie theater owners, had reconfigured the theaters so there is now a regular screen, an enhanced screen, and an imax screen. Denzel was playing on the enhanced screen.

“Anything for Denzel,” we said as we grabbed our tickets.

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popcorn-1Before the movie we bought some shoes. We brought our big shopping bag with shoeboxes into the movies, and nobody cared.

The only reason I mention this is because years ago, at the very same theater, we were pulled out of a very long line and asked to open our backpacks. Of course, we were caught red handed with a huge batch of homemade popcorn and told we could not bring it into the theater. We sat down in a corner and ate as much as we could before the show. It was very embarrassing at the time but turned out to be one of the formative memories of our relationship.

Once inside the theater we bypassed the overpriced popcorn and found our way to our seats. As the previews started I leaned over and whispered to my wife, “Next time we’ll use shoe boxes filled with popcorn and they’ll never know.”

She smiled and whispered back, “You make the best popcorn, dear.”

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See, it’s all about the bottom line — profit. Maybe there’s a guy in Eastern Europe with a violin, an animator with a computer in South Korea, or an editor in Russia with decent chops, and they’re all willing to work for cheap. Real cheap by living standards in the United States. So the Entertainment corporations, who are people according to the Supreme Court, get tax breaks from the government to keep their productions here in the US, and then farm out recording their musical scores, where they can get it done cheaper. And then they charge more for tickets, or worse yet pocket the savings.

Not all entertainment corporations of course, but a few. Lionsgate, for example. Did you know that the CEO of Lionsgate (maker of such films as Hunger Games and Twilight) took home a 400% increase in pay to over $63 million this year? If that doesn’t outrage you, how about the fact that in 2014 Lionsgate reported receiving $82 million in local tax credits to film in U.S. cities but then moved their musical score recording abroad to save money?

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What would The Equalizer do with this information?

He would definitely kick somebody’s ass all over the neighborhood.

If you want to kick some ass, join the AFM’s new campaign by endorsing Listen Up!

Check it out!

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(And oh, we thought the Equalizer was a good movie. Check that out too.)