Louisiana: The new Hollywood

Louisiana: new movie capital of the world 03:09

California isn't the epicenter of movie making anymore.

The business has left the Gold Coast and gone south, to Louisiana.

While Hollywood is traditionally thought of as the global film capital, there's one big reason most of the lights, cameras and action have moved thousands of miles away, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.

"Dallas Buyers Club, "12 Years a Slave," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" -- all of these award winning blockbusters were not filmed in California -- they were made in Louisiana.

In fact, the Bayou State is now the film production capital of the world, with 18 feature films released into theaters last year, three more than runners-up Canada and California.

Jesse Berger is a producer of the upcoming thriller "Abattoir," one of the many productions currently filming in New Orleans.

"It's very difficult to justify shooting in California when you have these type of incentives," he said.

Berger isn't talking about Louisiana's Cajun cuisine or lively nightlife -- he's talking about money.

In 2002, Louisiana began offering a unique tax credit -- 30 percent for productions shot in the state. Movie producers can get even more money back by hiring local crews.

"Coming here, the tax credit is a big draw for sure, because you get to actually put funds back into the production," Berger said.

And other states are taking notice. Some 39 now offer film-related tax incentives, and it seems Hollywood is feeling the pressure. Next year, California hopes to bring back the lost business with newly expanded tax credits of up to 25 percent.

But for now, Louisiana remains ahead of the pack.

"G.I. Jo: Retaliation" was filmed in the Big Easy in 2011 and received $30 million in tax credits.

Herbert Gains was an executive producer on "G.I. Joe" and the superhero flick "Green Lantern," one of the first big-budget movies to be made in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

"When it came time to do 'Green Lantern,' I thought of Louisiana," Gains said. "I was familiar with their program and I knew it could work financially, but I wasn't sure if it could work creatively."

It worked. Following "Green Lantern", box office hits like "21 Jump Street", "Pitch Perfect" and "Beasts of the Southern Wild" were all filmed in Louisiana.

"There's benefits that you can't even put on paper," Gains said. "People come down here for six to nine months on a movie and it has increased the economy."

And with potential blockbusters already in the works for 2015, it seems big movies in the Big Easy are here to stay.