CW’s Supernatural Boon to Vancouver Economy

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Over eleven seasons on two different networks, British Columbia, Canada has served as a picturesque backdrop for Sam and Dean Winchester’s battles with Lucifer, demons, angels, monstrous creatures, human monsters, and (on many occasions) each other on horror television stalwart Supernatural.

Turns out all that saving the Earth, Heaven, Hell and other otherworldly real estate has had an enormous impact on the spot of the globe Supernatural has called home for filming all these years.  According to a study from the Canadian accounting company MNP LLC featured in Business In Vancouver.com,  production of the series has “contributed over half a billion dollars”(Canadian) to the economy of British Colombia, Canada (the exchange rate between the U.S. and Canadian dollars is currently .78 US to $1.00 Canadian if you’d like to do the math).

Supernatural showrunner Jeremy Carver said, “We have the best talent and crews available, which makes it (British Columbia) an ideal destination for production year after year.”

Supernatural -- "Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire" -- Image SN1102A_0314.jpg -- Pictured: Jared Padalecki as Sam -- Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Supernatural — “Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire” — Image SN1102A_0314.jpg — Pictured: Jared Padalecki as Sam — Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Supernatural is hardly alone in finding Canada a great production location, both in practical and financial terms. Season Two of Supergirl will be moving to Vancouver to join fellow DC superhero shows Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, and The Flash.

Not only those shows currently in production, but the roster of Vancouver-based series includes The 4400, Syfy’s Flash GordonMillennium, The X-FilesAlcatrazAndromedaStargate SG-1Reaper, and Smallville — just to name a few.

Featured_Supergirl+Flash

The trend towards Canadian production includes all facets of production, from special effects, television and feature films.  One of the higher profile VFX (visual effects) moves came in 2014, when visual effects house Sony Pictures Imageworks moved their headquarters to Vancouver.

According to whatsfiliming.ca  29 current projects currently film in the B.C.; besides the official British Columbia Film Office, there is CreativeBC, a one stop shop funded by the Province of BC that aims to provide a “strategic and integrated approach to the growth and development of the province’s creative industries.”

However, the movie and television trek north isn’t a new development. Way back in 2006 (during Supernatural‘s first season) an article in Slate asked “Why are so many movies still being shot in Canada?” Turns out that besides the (still) favorable exchange rate offsetting union labor costs, the Film Production Services Tax Credit offered loom large in studio decision making on where to film a project.

Given the monetary and artistic benefits both sides get from locating productions in Canada, this is one question that may be asked for a long time to come.

 

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