Fight over Michigan film incentive continues

Is the end of Michigan-made movies coming?

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter

DETROIT - AJ Ahmad's Exodus Pictures has been a recipient of Michigan Film Incentive money.

The company is getting ready to release their feature film "Jinn" which was shot all over Michigan. Ahmad has been in the state since the beginning of the incentive which, at one point, was the most generous of its kind in the country -- a whopping 42 percent of a movie's tab instead of the $50 million it is now.

The Michigan House may be aiming to cut out the incentive entirely. Gov. Rick Snyder wants the $50 million cut to $25 million. Neither is a done deal.

Ahmad's says had this state been smart, it would have targeted more than just shooting here.

"Hollywood is actually about owning the idea. So I always tell people, very simply, you would rather 'Batman,' or 'Superman' or the 'Avenegers' rather than just working on the project," he said.

Ahmad always has said Michigan should have been going after the intellectual property aspect of moviemaking and putting real strings on the money dolled out.

"If you're going to incentivize Hollywood -- Walt Disney, Paramount, Warner Brothers -- at 40 percent, or 42 percent in some cases, on a $100 million movie, by all means you should say, 'Come here, we'll give you $40 million, but here's the deal: You build something here," Ahmad said.

The fight over incentivizing movies in Michigan at all is taking center stage in Lansing. Sources say not to count out keeping movies in Michigan. There are all sorts of behind-the-scenes negotiations going on.

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