Anecdotally, it seems like some sort of film production pops up almost every week in Massachusetts. Statistically, it’s likely even more frequent than that.
From 2011 to 2017, Massachusetts awarded an average of 117 tax credits to local productions per year, which works out to more than two per week, according to recently revised data posted by the Department of Revenue. (Productions, in this case, can include feature-length films, videos, digital media projects, TV series, TV pilots, and commercials.)
Created in 2006, the film tax credit helps lure productions to Massachusetts by offering a 25 percent payroll credit for any project that spends more than $50,000 in-state. On top of that, productions that spend more than half of their total budget in Massachusetts or film at least half the time in the state are eligible for a 25 percent production credit and a sales tax exemption, with the same $50,000 minimum in-state spend mentioned above.
The majority of these productions were not big-budget Hollywood films, and many credits awarded by the state were for relatively small sums in the tens of thousands of dollars. But from 2011 to 2017, 13 Hollywood film productions each received tax credits exceeding $10 million, and in 2016 alone, the state gave out almost $89 million in subsidies.
Here are the movies filmed in Massachusetts that received the largest film tax credits from the state between 2011 and 2017, as well as what towns the movies filmed in, according to the Massachusetts Film Office, and the film’s worldwide box office gross, according to Box Office Mojo.
13. “Central Intelligence” (2016)
This 2016 comedy about a pair of high school friends (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart) on the run from terrorists was filmed in Beverly, Boston, Burlington, Cambridge, Devens, Everett, Lynn, Lynnfield, Malden, Marlborough, Middleton, Quincy, and Somerville.
Credit received: $11,306,562
Domestic box office: $216,972,543
12. “Here Comes the Boom” (2012)
A 2012 comedy about a teacher (Kevin James) who makes ends meet after being laid off from Quincy High School by becoming an MMA fighter, “Here Comes the Boom” was filmed in Boston, Everett, Lowell, Peabody, and Quincy.
Credit received: $11,586,513
Worldwide box office: $73,100,172
11. “Black Mass” (2015)
The 2015 dramatization of the life of notorious Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) shot in Boston, Braintree, Cambridge, Chelsea, Concord, Lincoln, Lynn, Quincy, Randolph, and Revere.
Credit received: $12,041,344
Worldwide box office: $99,775,678
10. “The Judge” (2014)
This 2014 drama about a down-on-his-luck Chicago attorney (Robert Downey Jr.) reuniting with his family after his mom passes away was filmed in Ashfield, Attleboro, Belmont, Boston, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Dedham, Milton, Montague, Plymouth, Quincy, Shelburne Falls, Sunderland, and Worcester.
Credit received: $12,514,447
Worldwide box office: $84,419,388
9. “Ted 2” (2015)
A 2015 sequel about a Massachusetts man (Mark Wahlberg) and his teddy bear best friend (Seth MacFarlane), “Ted 2” shot in Boston, Chelsea, Danvers, Dartmouth, Framingham, Hamilton, Ipswich, Malden, Medford, Milton, Norfolk, Topsfield, Wareham, and Woburn.
Credit received: $14,043,474
Worldwide box office: $216,691,733
8. “The Finest Hours” (2016)
The 2016 drama based on a real-life 1952 Coast Guard rescue mission off the coast of Chatham was filmed in Chatham, Cohasset, Duxbury, Marshfield, Norwell, and Quincy.
Credit received: $14,408,518
Worldwide box office: $52,099,090
7. “Joy” (2015)
A 2015 comedy-drama based on the true story of self-made millionaire Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence), “Joy” was filmed in Canton, Framingham, Haverhill, Lynn, Manchester, Newbury, North Reading, Reading, Rochester, Salem, Wilmington, and Winchester.
Credit received: $14,775,351
Worldwide box office: $101,134,059
6. “The Equalizer” (2014)
This 2014 vigilante action-thriller about an ex-Marine (Denzel Washington) cleaning up the streets of Boston was filmed in Boston, as well as Cambridge, Canton, Chelsea, Hamilton, Haverhill, Quincy, Salisbury, and Swampscott.
Credit received: $15,546,926
Worldwide box office: $192,330,738
5. “Patriots Day” (2016)
A 2016 dramatization of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings starring Mark Wahlberg, “Patriots Day” was filmed in Boston, Cambridge, Framingham, Hopkinton, Malden, Natick, Newton, Peabody, Quincy, Rockland, Somerville, Watertown, Weymouth, and Woburn.
Credit received: $15,738,698
Worldwide box office: $50,549,909
4. “That’s My Boy” (2012)
“That’s My Boy,” a 2012 critical and commercial failure about an alcoholic man-child (Adam Sandler) and his long-lost son (Andy Samberg), shot in Boston, Chatham, Dennis, East Bridgewater, Everett, Osterville, and Peabody.
Credit received: $16,594,257
Worldwide box office: $57,719,093
3. “Grown Ups 2” (2013)
A 2013 sequel about a group of childhood friends reunited as adults (Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade), “Grown Ups 2” was filmed in Carlisle, Essex, Marblehead, Swampscott, and Tewksbury.
Credit received: $24,176,060
Worldwide box office: $246,984,278
2. “R.I.P.D.” (2013)
“R.I.P.D.” was a 2013 critical and commercial flop about a Boston police officer (Ryan Reynolds) who joins a ghost law enforcement team to fight the malevolent undead. It was filmed in Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, and Raynham.
Credit received: $26,597,083
Worldwide box office: $78,324,220
1. “Ghostbusters” (2016)
This 2016 reimagining of the “Ghostbusters” franchise starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones shot in Boston, Brookline, Easton, Everett, Norwood, Waltham, and Weymouth.
Credit received: $26,702,552
Worldwide box office: $229,147,509