Hollywood production hit COVID-19 pandemic lows in December

Movie and television production hit a new pandemic-era low last month in Hollywood.

According to FilmLA, a nonprofit group that tracks production in Tinseltown, filming plunged 25 percent last month from November. The production slowdown ramped up toward the end of December, and was linked to voluntary industry efforts to curb the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Los Angeles County has been particularly hard hit by coronavirus, reporting on average nearly 15,000 cases a day last week, for a total of about 945,000 known cases since the pandemic began. In an effort to help slow the spread, major studios like Netflix, CBS TV Studios, Warner Bros. TV, Sony Pictures Television, Disney Television Studios and Universal TV temporarily halted production until mid-January.

Production is still allowed in the county, however, due to extensive workplace health regulations, such as social distancing, mask wearing and extensive sanitation rules.

“The industry has been extraordinarily responsible throughout the time of the pandemic, as demonstrated by their recent actions during the rise in cases of COVID-19 and embrace of strict safety protocols,” said FilmLA president Paul Audley.

In December, FilmLA processed about 4,213 film permit applications spanning 2,985 unique projects. TV production comprised 27 percent of those permits, the group said, noting that only a handful of TV series such as CBS’ “Ghosts,” HBO’s “Insecure” and Showtime’s “The L Word: Generation Q” started shooting locally last month.

Feature film production comprised 6 percent of permits. A total of 26 films, largely independent, began shooting, including “Monstrous,” “Slayers” and “This Land.”

Reality TVs such as NatGeo’s “Dog Impossible,” NBC’s “Jay Leno’s Garage” and CBS All Access’s “Teen Mom OG” continued shooting.

Commercial production made up 28 percent of permits with brands like Haagen-Dazs, Honda, Mountain Dew and Lowe’s all shooting their spots.

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