LAS VEGAS - Las Vegas is becoming a hot commodity in Hollywood. Our city is the star of several movies coming out this year, and local leaders are trying to cash in on Sin City's cinematic success.
Two blockbuster films coming out this year - "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" and "The Hangover Part III" - take place in Las Vegas.
These and other movies bring millions of dollars to the local economy through production and tourism after the movie's release.
Silver State Productions, a film production company in Las Vegas, is working on a remake of the Burt Reynolds film "Heat".
But, Silver State Productions founder Chris Ramirez says most of the film is being shot in Louisiana, where it's cheaper to work. Crews will come to Las Vegas for a week to shoot footage of the city.
Ramirez says if more movies, such as "The Hangover", were shot entirely in Las Vegas, it would give the local economy a boost.
"'The Hangover Part III' came in town, we rented chairs and table and heaters from little local companies," he said. "We did catering with restaurants on this street. We brought location fees to the Plaza and to Golden Gate and to Boyd Gaming."
A bill in the Nevada State Senate would give big tax incentives to film companies to shoot and edit their projects in Nevada. The author of the bill – State Senator Aaron Ford (Clark County-D) – said in a statement:
"Over 30 other states offer some form of incentives to lure film productions to their area, and the benefits they have seen are incredible. Film productions create hundreds of jobs and indirectly help local businesses – from dry cleaners to lumber yards."
The bill is making its way through senate committee hearings. Many senators agree incentives should be available for these companies, but State Sen. Ben Kieckhefer (Carson City-R) says he worries the bill goes too far.
States such as Louisiana, New Mexico and North Carolina that currently give money to these production companies have run into problems by offering too much.
"'The Hangover' was a tremendous thing for Las Vegas. Vegas tourism saw direct benefit because of that film coming out," Kieckhefer said. "To provide some incentive to companies to produce films like that makes a lot of sense, but to make sure we get it right is critical."
"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" hits theaters this week. "The Hangover Part III" comes out in May.
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