The producers of Black Mass and the Motion Picture Association of America used some very selective Hollywood editing this week to plug the Massachusetts film tax credit.

With the tax credit under fire from members of the state Senate and the Baker administration, the Motion Picture Association issued a press release on Tuesday saying the movie pumped nearly $20 million into the Massachusetts economy during its 103 days of filming in 2014. The press release, which was picked up by Masslive and a handful of other news outlets, hailed the economic benefits of movies shot on location in Massachusetts.

“As this movie hits theaters, it’s important to remember how this production and the entire statewide film industry make it possible for thousands of Massachusetts residents to earn their livelihoods and support their families,” said Chris O’Donnell, business manager for Local 481 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, in the press release. The quote was also used in the Masslive story.

But what the press release failed to point out is that the $20 million was only a fraction of the cost of the movie. Variety estimates the total cost was $53 million; others speculate the cost was higher, with star Johnny Depp collecting $20 million himself.

Here’s why the overall cost numbers are important.The state’s film tax credit basically reimburses movie producers 25 percent of whatever they spend in Massachusetts. If the total cost was $53 million, that means Massachusetts taxpayers forked over about $13 million to generate $20 million in local spending. Not a great return.

The Motion Picture Association documented in great detail all of the local spending. There was $8.5 million for 662 local cast and crew members, or an average of $12,840 a person. The production also spent $3.8 million on “miscellaneous rentals and purchases;” $2.7 million on location fees; $1.4 million on hotel rooms and housing; $823,000 on car rentals (an average of $7,990 a day); $557,000 on wardrobe purchases; $485,000 on lumber and construction supplies; $470,000 on dry cleaning, gas, and office expenses; $455,000 on security; and $453,000 on food.

But the association said it didn’t know the total cost of the movie, or what was paid to director Scott Cooper and lead actors Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, and Joel Edgerton. Salaries paid to directors and actors are covered by the state’s film tax credit, but the state Revenue Department says most of that money flows out of state.

In 2012, the Revenue Department estimated film productions spent $315.8 million in Massachusetts and qualified for $78.9 million in film tax credits. Of the total spending, only $103.7 million, or 33 percent, went to Massachusetts residents and businesses.




House Speaker Robert DeLeo opens up about his weight loss surgery and says he went public because he didn’t feel comfortable lying about it by telling people he dropped the pounds merely by dieting. (Greater Boston)

Gov. Charlie Baker has ridden a government fix-it-man approach to great popularity, but largely been able to steer clear of more divisive, partisan battles. So far. (Boston Globe)

Attorney General Maura Healey says she is “reviewing” the legal status of DraftKings, a move that is drawing the ire of boosters of the sports fantasy site where lots of money changes hands. (Boston Herald)

Some deep-pocketed Bay Staters say they’re fine with raising the state income tax rate for those like them who earn more than $1 million a year. (Boston Globe)

Rep. Steven Howitt, a Seekonk Republican, wants to divest the state pension fund from companies that have decided to not to do business with Israel. (MassLive)


Author Andre Dubus, whose book Townie deals with his troubled upbringing in Haverhill, is a big hit with students during a visit to the local high school. (Eagle-Tribune)

Sandwich library employees move to unionize. (Cape Cod Times)


Get the lowdown on Charlestown’s Sullivan Square, the epicenter in the battle over a proposed casino in Everett. (CommonWealth)

Stoughton officials are seeking standing as a surrounding community to work out mitigation payments from a proposed Brockton casino. (The Enterprise)


Republicans in Congress are moving forward with plans to restrict abortions with the Senate advancing a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks and House conservatives digging in their heels to strip Planned Parenthood of funding in the budget or force a government shutdown. (New York Times)


Carly Fiorina is trying to gain traction in the GOP presidential contest after getting positive reviews for her performance in Wednesday’s 11-candidate debate. (Boston Globe)

Barney Frank lets loose on presidential politics, saying Joe Biden doesn’t “look presidential” and should not run, declaring Bernie Sanders a nonstarter for the Democratic nomination, and saying rivals missed out on opportunities to whack Donald Trump in Wednesday’s GOP debate. (Boston Herald) When CommonWealth’s Gabrielle Gurley talked to Frank recently, he said that Democrats needed “to support Hillary Clinton.

Trump doesn’t correct a questioner who says President Obama is a Muslim who wasn’t born in America. (Time)

State Sen. Robert Hedlund easily topped the preliminary field of six candidates for mayor in Weymouth with 55 percent of the vote and will now face off in November against incumbent Mayor Sue Kay, who came in a distant second with 23 percent. (Patriot Ledger)


The Federal Reserve once again passed on raising interest rates, which haven’t been increased since 2006. (U.S. News & World Report)

Barney Frank is coming under fire for saying it would be OK for Bank of America CEO — and Wellesley resident — Brian Moynihan to also take the reins, as is being proposed, as the bank’s board chairman, the kind of concentration of management power that the Dodd-Frank Act sought to curtail. (Boston Herald) The Globe has a longer look at Moynihan’s rise and tenure as head of the bank.

Criminals are using charity websites to test the validity of stolen credit cards because many nonprofits have simplified donation pages with low protection to make it easier to give. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)


A Globe editorial says the management crisis that has seen one-third of the John F. Kennedy Library staff quit or fired must be resolved by its board. It calls library foundation director Heather Campion, whose leadership is being blamed for the upheaval, “polarizing,” but doesn’t explicitly call for her ouster. Joan Vennochi sidesteps the management mess at the library to call for a more honest, less rose-tinted-glasses appraisal of the Kennedy years in its exhibits and programming.

The Somerset and the Somerset Berkley school districts are looking at hiring a residency officer because of what officials say is an increasing problem in families placing students in town schools without proper documentation. (Herald News)

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s lawsuit to block Common Core standards nationally is denied. (Times-Picayune)

Tom Birmingham and Jamie Gass of the Pioneer Institute make their case against the so-called PARCC test in a meeting with the Lowell Sun editorial board.

Worcester has seen a 9 percent increase in the number of students eating lunch at school in the wake of a decision to make lunches free. (Telegram & Gazette)

The Berkshire Eagle argues that UMass students are justifiably angry about tuition and fee increases.

Harvard raises $6 billion in its current capital campaign; the goal is $6.5 billion. (Harvard Crimson)


Researchers now say omega-3 supplements may not be beneficial in preventing heart attacks and heart disease despite decades of advice from doctors. Meanwhile, a clinical study shows Jardiance, a widely used diabetes drug, cut cardiovascular deaths by 38 percent. (New York Times)


The MBTA will auction off murals that graced the walls of Government Center Station. The artist who painted them, who now has a pie-making business in rural Minnesota, plans a return visit to Boston, where she hasn’t set foot in more than 30 years. (Boston Globe)

MBTA parking garages in Beverly and Salem are only half full on most days. (Salem News)


The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station may shut down if its owners decide they can’t afford the millions of dollars in upgrades being required by federal regulators. (Boston Globe)

The Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals shuts down one of the town’s wind turbines after six years of protests. (Cape Cod Times) Meanwhile, a Hopkinton solar farm gets the go-ahead.(MetroWest Daily News)


Renee Loth decries the widespread use — including in Massachusetts — of solitary confinement in prisons. (Boston Globe)

A federal judge has denied the request by former Dartmouth selectman John George to delay the start of the 70-month prison sentence he received after being convicted on corruption charges. (Standard-Times)

The are plenty of questions surrounding the home-invasion killing of a 43-year-old Marshfield resident, who claimed an exotic background as a diamond and gold dealer in Africa. (Boston Herald)


The New Orleans Times-Picayune cuts 28 full-time and 9 part-time staffers.