The last minute change is the result of uncertainty surrounding the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit, which offers filmmakers $40 million in incentives to shoot in Northeast Ohio. The tax credit was removed from the state budget in the Ohio Legislature but later reinstated before the budget passed, a move that came “too late” for Cherry.
“That is a movie we wanted to shoot here. It’s a story that is set in Cleveland,” Anthony Russo told FOX 8 when appearing at a Cleveland Best Buy as part of Marvel Studios’ We Love You 3000 Tour.
“But because the Ohio Legislature had pulled the tax incentive for film production here in Ohio out of the budget back in the spring, that sort of sent us into a plan B. And unfortunately, even though the legislature reinstated the tax incentive, it was too late for our production to actually end up here.”
The Russos previously shot portions of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in Cleveland. The city also served as a shooting location on Marvel Studios’ The Avengers and Sony’s Spider-Man 3.
“Selfishly, as people who want to continue shooting in Cleveland, we really think there’s a lot of benefits to the tax incentive and we hope it continues, we hope it grows,” Russo said. “It’s really unfortunate there was this crisis point where we momentarily pulled away because it did hurt business on the future film front, especially with us on a personal level with this movie.”
“It’s an amazing city,” Russo added. “We will be back.”
During an appearance at San Diego Comic-Con in July, the Russo brothers detailed the “deeply personal” Cherry, an R-rated, true story drama and examination of the opioid crisis centered on an Army medic-turned-drug addicted bank robber.
“It’s based on a best-selling book, it’s a story set in Cleveland, Ohio, where we grew up — it’s a story very near and dear to us,” Joe Russo said.
“A lot of the locations in the book are locations that we grew up in and around. The author of the book actually worked at the same restaurant I worked at a few years after I worked there. This is a story about drug addiction and the opioid crisis, told in a very fascinating and frank way. It’s touched us both, it’s touched our families, the crisis, and so this is a very deeply personal movie for us. The gentleman who wrote the book was someone who went through the same growth arc that we did in the same part of the city that we grew up in, and had a very different experience, and we want to tell his story.”
“The situation with Cherry demonstrates the critical importance of the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit and that there is significant proven interest from the industry in filming here in Northeast Ohio,” the Greater Cleveland Film Commission said in a statement to FOX 8. “With the credit in place, there is a huge opportunity to create jobs and boost our local economy, which is even more reason we need to raise the incentive to $100 million and change the renewal period to every 4-5 years instead of every two years. This will help filmmakers be confident in choosing Ohio.”
The Russos’ AGBO has yet to mark a release date for Cherry.