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‘Dune’ May Receive Largest Amount of Indirect Hungarian Film Support to Date

Fanni Kaszás 2019.06.18.

The American-English-Canadian film ‘Dune,’ currently shooting in Budapest, may receive 7,5 billion forints (EUR 23,2 million) in indirect Hungarian support, via favorable tax refunds, the highest that a foreign production has ever received in the country so far. Dune’s budget is 25 billion forints (EUR 77 million) – which is also the highest amount, tied with ‘Blade Runner 2049.’ Since 2004, Hollywood productions have been attracted to Hungary due to enticing tax refunds for filming movies.

According to the official data sent to the NMHH, the National Media and Infocommunications Authority, which was listed among the public summaries of cinematographic works and published on its website in June, the planned budget of the ‘Dune’ remake, shot in Hungary, is just over 25 billion forints. This means that the new film by Denis Villeneuve will be the most expensive foreign production ever made in Hungary, besides the director’s previous film ‘Blade Runner 2049.’ During the shooting, production spending can still change a bit (up to 10% according to the general practice so far), which means that it may become the most expensive film ever shot in Hungary.

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However, although the two films had the same planned budget, the planned tax refund will be the highest for ‘Dune.’ Since ‘Blade Runner’ was made, the tax refund increased from 25 to 30% in June 2018. This means that the film may receive 7.5 billion forints in tax refund as a Hungarian subsidy, while ‘Blade Runner’ could only claim 6.2 billion for the same budget back in 2016.

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In 2004, the film support program was first introduced in the region in Hungary, resulting in more and more international productions made here every year. The indirect support, a film tax refund, was set to 20% of the costs of eligible film production, which increased to 25% a decade later, and to 30% last year. The rule is that film productions receive 30% return on every cost of the film that is spent through Hungarian service companies, pending the final decision of the NMHH.

The Hungarian Film Fund reported in an analysis in 2007 that “…the film support system is worth it because every 1000 HUF tax refund for film production in Hungary generates an income of 1248 HUF.” Since then, they haven’t made an updated analysis of film tax returns.

‘Dune’ is a feature adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel about the son of a noble family trying to avenge his father’s death while saving a space planet. The film will be directed by Denis Villeneuve. His previous works include ‘Arrival,’ ‘Prisoners,’ and ‘Blade Runner 2049,’ which was shot in Hungary a couple of years ago with actors Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling. The shooting of the film started on March 18th in Hungary, since then, some of the actors, such as Jason Momoa and Josh Brolin, have been spotted on Budapest’s streets.

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