The state subsidy for the upcoming movie “The Frozen Ground” will be $6.3 million, which is about $5 million more than the film company paid in wages and salaries to Alaska residents.
From the limited information released by the state, it’s impossible to give a breakdown on how much was really spent in Alaska.
I’ve written about this problem before. While it’s encouraging to see some improvement in the amount of information provided by the state — compared to previous productions — the background on the salable tax credit does not reveal what the state is getting for its millions.
The movie, filmed last year in Anchorage, stars Nicholas Cage and John Cusack. It is about Alaska mass murderer Robert Hansen and how he was brought to justice. It is expected to be released later this year.
The state paperwork lists $19.2 million as “total Alaska production expenses” for the movie, but that includes at least $10.7 million in wages and salaries to people from Outside.
Subtract the Outside payments from the total and the “Alaska production expenses” for Georgia Film Fund Five LLC are cut to about $8.5 million.
It’s also not clear how much of that $8.5 million was spent in Alaska.
The filmmakers said they spent $5 million on “services,” the details of which were not made public, $446,000 on food and lodging, $790,000 on location fees and facilities and equipment rentals and purchases, $153,000 on instate transportation, $216,000 on interstate transportation and $223,000 on other expenses.
In the personnel breakdown, the company said it had 29 people as “Alaska talent,” along with an Alaska crew of 108 and 558 extras. It said it hired 256 Alaska contractors.
Wages and salaries for the 700 Alaskans totaled $1.3 million.
Wages and salaries for the 110 actors and crew from Outside totaled $10.7 million. Most of that money probably went to the movie stars and the executives.