What’s been filmed, what’s filming in Georgia
More than 30 TV shows and films are currently in production | Latest in our series of Georgia’s film industry
ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Metro Atlanta and Georgia locales have been used extensively in Hollywood productions.
Downtown’s Westin Peachtree Plaza was the site of one of the city’s first climatic film scenes, in 1979′s “Sharky’s Machine.” The Burt Reynolds crime drama ended with an assassin being shot by Reynolds near the top floor of the hotel and falling to his death.
The Woodruff Arts Center is the site of a scene in Michael Mann’s 1985 production of “Manhunter,” based on novelist Thomas Harris’ “Red Dragon.” Actor Brian Cox was the first to play the role of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, years before Anthony Hopkins made the character synonymous with criminal terror.
Atlanta was also the site of 1990′s “Driving Miss Daisy,” while Jekyll Island was featured in a climatic Civil War battle in “Glory” of the same year.
“A crew base had been built up along with the infrastructure to support them,” said Lee Thomas, deputy commissioner of film, music and digital entertainment for the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Famous films that used Georgia locales:
- “The Fugitive,” 1993
- “Forrest Gump,” 1994
- “Cobb,” 1994
- “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” 1997
- “Remember the Titans,” 2000
- “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” 2005
- “The Longest Yard,” 2005 (remake)
As Hollywood film costs began soaring in the 1990s, other nations began passing tax credits to lure film companies outside the U.S. Hollywood and the Motion Picture Association began lobbying Congress to provide financial incentives to spur domestic film production.
In 2004, as part of the American Jobs Creation Act, Congress included an addendum that provided immediate tax write-offs for domestic film production. That spurred states such as Georgia to provide their own tax incentive programs.
The Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act was passed by the General Assembly in 2005 and signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue. It provided a 10% tax credit for production companies that spent money in the state. Three years later, that tax credit was increased to 20%, and an additional 10% was tacked on for any film that included the “Made in Georgia” logo in its end credits.
By the numbers: Georgia film industry
- No cap on the film/ TV tax credit program
- In fiscal year 2021, 366 productions were filmed in the state, represented by 21 feature films, 45 independent films, 222 television and episodic productions, 57 commercials, and 21 music videos.
- In fiscal year 2021, the film and television industry set a new record with $4.1 billion in direct spending on productions in the state.
- In fiscal year 2021, Georgia doled out $1.2 billion in film and TV tax credits. That was 40% higher than the state’s previous record, $860 million, which was set in 2019.
- Georgia was the first state to allow filming during the pandemic.
Marvel Entertainment’s installment of the enormously popular (and profitable) Avengers series came in 2015, with “Ant-Man.” “Captain America: Civil War” came later that year, followed by “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2″ in 2017; “Spider-Man: Homecoming” in 2017; “Black Panther” in 2018; “Avengers: Infinity War” in 2018 and “Ant-Man and the WASP” in 2018.
On the TV side, “The Walking Dead” began its inaugural season in 2020 in Senoia, and remains one of cable television’s most popular, top-rated shows. Before the zombies, however, came TV series such as “The Dukes of Hazzard” and Alex Haley’s 1976 miniseries “Roots,” which featured many Georgia locations.
More than 30 TV shows and films are currently in production in Georgia, and to find out if something is filming in your neighborhood, click here.
“In the 1990s, we were doing between five and six projects in a year,” Thomas said. “Now, we’re doing as many as 350 or more a year, either feature films, TV shows, commercials or music videos. We went from having 45,000 square feet of sound stage space in 2010 to 2.1 million square feet and now 3.2 million square feet, and it’s still not enough.”
Assembly Atlanta is a 135-acre mixed-use real estate complex centered around the studio industry at the former site of the General Motors plant in Doraville.
The signature component of the Assembly Atlanta development is the 43-acre Assembly Studios complex featuring soundstages, production offices, warehouse and mill buildings, studio bungalows, event space, and a parking deck. The new facilities will include multiple soundstages, production office space, warehouses and mill space, as well as parking and other necessary amenities.
Next to the Assembly Studios complex is Third Rail Studios, a movie and television production facility spanning seven acres that opened in 2016 and that Gray acquired in September 2021.
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