26 September, 2012

Georgia's film industry: A $3.1 billion dollar behemoth

Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake on the set of "Trouble with the Curve" in Athens

From July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012, a record $3.1 billion dollars was generated by Georgia-lensed films, television series, commercials and music videos. This is a rise of nearly 30% over 2011's fiscal year, which held the previous record.

A stunning 333 productions were filmed in Georgia during FY2012, many of which you have already seen hit theater screens or will see in the coming months. Georgia's already robust showing at cinemas this year includes releases like "Joyful Noise," "Wanderlust," "The Three Stooges," "What to Expect When You're Expecting," "The Watch," "The Odd Life of Timothy Green," "Lawless" and "Trouble with the Curve."

Television makes up a huge part of Georgia's entertainment industry, with "The Walking Dead," "The Vampire Diaries," "Drop Dead Diva," "Necessary Roughness," "Royal Pains" and "Single Ladies" all being filmed here. BET also has a number of Georgia productions in their lineup, such as "The Game," "Keyshia Cole: Family First," "Let's Stay Together" and "Read Between the Lines."

Nearly $900 million of the $3.1 billion is attributed to direct spending within the state. Georgia's entertainment boom in recent years can at least partially be attributed to a 2008 incentive that offers up to 30% in tax credits for productions that spend at least half a million in the state. Our wealth of natural and economic resources and geographic diversity also deserve some credit, as Georgia isn't the only state offering tax incentives. New studios are popping up around the state, with the state-of-the-art Atlanta Film Studios opening earlier this year in Paulding County. The Jackie Robinson biopic "42," starring Chadwick Boseman, Nicole Beharie and Harrison Ford, has already made use of the studio. The EUE/Screen Gems studio in South Atlanta opened two years ago and will soon build two new soundstages. Late last year, news broke about the city of Savannah considering construction of a film studio. Panavision, Raleigh Studios Atlanta and Turner Studios all maintain a busy production schedule.

It doesn't look like Georgia's film boom is going to slow down anytime soon. Plenty of recently wrapped Georgia productions will appear in cinemas in the coming months. In addition to the aforementioned "42," other upcoming titles include "Flight" with Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Melissa Leo and John Goodman; "Parental Guidance" with Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei; "Standing Up" with Radha Mitchell and Val Kilmer; "Identity Thief" with Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy and Amanda Peet; "The Internship" with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson; "Killing Season" with Robert De Niro and John Travolta; "Devil's Knot" with Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon, Amy Ryan and Mireille Enos; "CBGB" with Alan Rickman, Malin Akerman, Rupert Grint and Justin Bartha; and "A.C.O.D." with Amy Poehler, Adam Scott, Jane Lynch, Richard Jenkins, Jessica Alba and Catherine O'Hara.

As if the above list isn't enough to rack anyone's brain, other projects currently filming or getting ready to shoot include "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," "Getaway," "Scary Movie 5" and "Enchanted Amore." "Breacher" with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard, Mireille Enos, Malin Akerman, Olivia Williams, Josh Holloway and Joe Manganiello will soon start production in Atlanta. Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro and Michael Douglas are no strangers to Atlanta. Soon, they will all return to film "Last Vegas," which will also star Kevin Kline and Mary Steenburgen.

Using numbers from 2010 and 2011, Georgia ranked as the fourth most filmed-in state, behind California, New York and Louisiana. These new number suggest, however, that Georgia might have eclipsed Louisiana in terms of both spending and production count.

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