NEW YORK - Higher fees for film-production companies choosing to work in some New York City buildings have taken effect, with no clear word on whether it will tarnish the city's popularity as one of Hollywood's favorite backdrops.
One critic called the $3,200 price tag for a permit to film at one of the city's buildings the highest fee in the nation by a municipality.
But the city, which attracts about $5 billion in business each year through the film trade, defended it as a small increase affecting a slim percentage of productions in a place that has long been among the friendliest filming venues in the country.
The city came up with the fee over the summer as it looked to cover more costs related to film productions, according to Marybeth Ihle, a spokeswoman for the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting. The fee took effect Wednesday.
"Private locations can charge $10,000 a day, so this is pretty nominal," she said, adding that the fee affects only about 5 percent of productions that shoot scenes in New York City.
Among the biggest users of the city buildings is the long-running dramatic series Law & Order, which films frequently inside courthouses and other city buildings. NBC Universal did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment on reports that the show might seek to shoot some scenes in other cities.
"This one thing itself is not going to chase productions out of the city," said John Johnston, executive director of the New York Production Alliance, which represents more than half the 100,000 people employed in New York by the film, TV, and commercial-production industry.
But he said he spoke out against the fees at a public hearing earlier this year because it set a dangerous precedent that might spur other city agencies to also impose fees that collectively would lead productions to look elsewhere to film.