The Economic Impact of “Argo”: 90 Days and $31 Million

The Economic Impact of “Argo”: 90 Days and $31 Million


From August to November 2011, Ben Affleck’s Argofilmed in Los Angeles and spent $31,049,818.  Filming locations in the Los Angeles area included a Veterans Affairs facility in North Hills (depicted as the U.S. Embassy in Tehran), a private home in Hancock Park (Canadian ambassador’s house), Ontario International Airport (Tehran airport), Los Angeles Times building (CIA headquarters), Zsa Zsa Gabor’s home in Beverly Hills (home of Hollywood producer Lester Siegel) and the SmokeHouse Restaurant in Burbank, which played itself.

One of the major reasons Argo filmed in California rather than another state or nation is that it was one of the few productions that qualified for the California Film & Television Tax Credit.  While a portion of the story is set in Los Angeles, that did not mean the film would have “shot here anyways,” which is a false belief held by critics of the state’s film incentive.  After all, Battle: Los Angeles was made in Louisiana.   The California Film & Television Tax Credit allowed California to benefit from jobs and spending, not another state or nation.

The following is a detailed breakdown of how Argo spent $31 million in California in just 90 days:

Hotel/Housing (ATL & BTL)


Car rentals:


Catering, bakery goods & other food items


Hardware & lumber supplies


Secretarial personnel, equipment (Xerox, phones etc)


Local wardrobe purchased


Dry cleaning




Location fees-Total


City, county and other governmental permit fees


Off-duty personnel (police, fire etc)


Local cast & extras hired


Local security hired


Per Diem payments


Local hires (carpenters, electricians etc.)


Other rentals


Other purchases:




Days on location:

Prep/construction: 67; Shoot: 48; Wrap/strike: 17

Number of Local Hires:

Cast: 157; Crew: 732; Extras (in man/days): 3,326


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