If you enjoyed the recent Superman movie "Man of Steel" and you live in Michigan, you had better be really looking forward to the sequel because you just paid $35 million for a ticket.
That sum, anyway, is the total cost to taxpayers of the subsidy offered by Michigan for moviemakers to shoot the next Superman film in the financially struggling city of Detroit. The movie, which stars Henry Cavill as Superman and will also feature Ben Affleck playing Batman, was originally set to film in Vancouver, British Columbia, but Michigan lured the production away with the generous subsidy offer.
However, the film’s production is slated to spend $131 million in the state during the Michigan-based filming period to take place in the first quarter of 2014.
According to the Michigan Film Office, the production will hire 406 local workers as well as contract with 500 Michigan-based vendors. The production's hotel spending alone is expected to top $5 million.
"Detroit and the entire state of Michigan have been fantastic collaborators,” said the film’s director, Zach Snyder, who also helmed the first "Man of Steel" flick.
But not everyone is ready to fly up, up and away with the project.
Writing on the website Deadline Detroit, columnist Jeff Wattrick noted, “temporary jobs and some extra hotel reservations seem like a very poor return on investment for $35 million from an over-extended public treasury. I question the validity of this kind of 'economic development' spending when Michigan fails to adequately provide core public services like well-maintained roads and affordable higher education.”
“Lawmakers and others are blinded by the glitz and glam of Hollywood when they consider this public policy,” said Michael LaFaive of a Michigan economic think tank, The Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “If you were to factor the cost of the subsidy into the equation, it would be zero if not negative impact.”
The Mackinac Center’s website describes the center as an advocate of “free market capitalism.”
The first Man of Steel movie, released by Warner Bros studio, took in nearly $650 million at the box office in worldwide release, according to the Box Office Mojo web site. Warner Bros films grossed $4.3 billion in 2012.
SOURCES: Detroit Free Press, Reuters, Deadline Detroit, Box Office Mojo, Mackinac Center, Business Wire