Six things we learned about Total Recall and the Toronto film industry

Six things we learned about Total Recall and the Toronto film industry

(Image: The original Total Recall) 

Whether spotting Jessica Biel biking down Queen West (with beau Justin Timberlake no less), stretching with Colin Farrell at Yoga on Yonge Street or painstakingly avoiding Lakeshore Blvd. for a few days in July, Torontonians certainly felt the impact of Total Recall filming in the city. The Toronto Star goes so far to tout the film as saving Toronto’s film industry by funneling nearly $1 Billion into the municipal economy this summer. We looked into how the payout breaks down into Toronto’s economy. See the numbers after the jump.

Total Recall has a budget of approximately $130 to $200 million, which helped the city of Toronto hit almost $1 billion in annual production value, the second highest figure since to 2001— since before SARS, September 11 and the recent recession, when production rose to approximately $928 million ($1.135 billion with inflation).

• Business manager of IATSE local 873, which represents film technicians, artists and craftspeople of all types, Monty Montgomerie estimates that the film has paid approximately $25 million in wages to the union’s members since starting production in March. During its peak shooting period, the film employed 500 to 600 workers per day.

• By shooting primarily at Toronto’s Pinewood Studios, as well as around the city in locations such as Commerce Court and the University of Toronto, the production ensured that much of the budget was spent in and around the city itself.

• If Total Recall spent a quarter of its estimated budget—which would be about $50 million—in Toronto, this translates to an economic impact that rivals events like Pride Week.

• We’ve got the government to thank for encouraging films to shoot in Toronto: the provincial government made Ontario competitive by increasing tax credits in 2009 and making them more permanent. Films shooting in Ontario can expect a 25 per cent overall tax credit on all expenses, competing with British Columbia’s tax credits, which only apply to labour.

Pinewood Studio Toronto, where Total Recall was primarily shot, is the largest of its kind in North America: it boasts more than 250,000 square feet of production space with 8 sound stages, as well as mill shops, office space, makeup, wardrobe and hair facilities all located on the premises.

How Total Recall saved Toronto’s film industry [Toronto Star]