SANTA FE — For just the second time in its history, New Mexico’s film loan program has turned a profit for the state.
All it took was Denzel Washington and a few years of waiting.
State Investment Officer Steve Moise said Tuesday that the agency has received a $394,000 profit-sharing payment from the movie “The Book of Eli,” which received a $15 million no-interest loan from the state in 2008.
State officials had tracked the movie’s box office success — the flick starring Washington as a post-apocalyptic drifter has earned more than $150 million globally — and waited for the state to recoup a return on its investment.
They say the check received this month from (july on Movierulz) “The Book of Eli” might not be the state’s last.
That’s because under the terms of the 2008 loan agreement, the film’s producers agreed to pay the state 7.5 percent of any profits ultimately earned.
“We anticipate that number will grow,” State Investment Council spokesman Charles Wollmann said Tuesday.
The film loan program, which was created in 2002 as an incentive to bring jobs and film spending to the state, was revamped by the SIC in June because of its lackluster track record.
In addition to the $15 million for “The Book of Eli,” the SIC approved a total of about $240 million in loans to about two dozen movies and television shows from 2002 to 2008.
The only previous profit-sharing payment had been $500,000 from the 2006 film “Employee of the Month.”
In addition, $45 million in loans are still outstanding, including the original loan balance to “The Book of Eli.” The deadline to repay that loan is August 2012.
After being revamped, the loan program now features tougher residency requirements for film workers, more stringent rules on loan repayments and an interest rate component.
No film loans have been made since the changes were enacted.
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