Seven years ago, I attended a press conference with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had made a point of coming back to Vancouver to promote The 6th Day (2000; my review) in the city where this, his latest sci-fi action movie, had been shot.
Someone asked him how he felt about “runaway productions” — i.e. Hollywood films that are shot outside of California, usually for budgetary reasons — and Arnold, in his smooth-talking way, pooh-poohed the people who made such a huge stink over the issue, and said that it was only fair for Hollywood studios to spend their money in places like Vancouver because, after all, Hollywood movies were dominating Vancouver theatres and claiming almost all the money at our box offices.
Then, two years later, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003; my review) was supposed to be filmed in Vancouver, but it was yanked at the last minute and filmed in Los Angeles, instead — supposedly because free space had suddenly turned up in a studio down south, though to some folks up here, it seemed like a more nakedly political move. And then, sure enough, the following year, Arnold ran for Governor of California and openly campaigned on the fact that he had moved Terminator 3 to Los Angeles, and he pledged to lure even more productions back to California.
So it was interesting to read about Arnold’s latest visit here in last Friday’s Vancouver Sun:
Vancouver’s struggling movie industry got no sympathy from California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Thursday.
In fact, Schwarzenegger vowed during his visit to the city to do what he could to prevent runaway productions from going to Vancouver, adding this is a top priority for him.
Looking buff and tanned, basking in the glow of camera lights, the 60-year-old former actor reminisced about his days shooting movies here and praised the city as being one of the finest on Earth.
While wanting to become a partner with B.C. on the environmental front, he made it clear in an interview with The Vancouver Sun that he wants filmmaking kept in Hollywood. He acknowledged there is still a lot of work to be done to keep in that way.
“Yes, it’s a big concern of mine,” he said. “So we would like to bring back more productions to California and we also would like to protect the product that they are producing, so it doesn’t get filmed (by pirates).”
He added: “We still have to figure out a way of how to create some revenues, some money, for the movie industry so we can have incentives to stay in town . . . and, you know, be competitive with other states.”
Meanwhile, local filmmakers have been sounding the alarm over the rising Canadian dollar, saying it is pushing movie production elsewhere and imperilling Vancouver’s billion-dollar film industry. . . .
In other words, the runaway productions are now running away from us, too. Live by the dollar, die by the dollar, and all that.
And that about exhausts the Arnold portion of the article.