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The Georgia Film Industry Explained

“Made in Georgia” has become a commonplace tag at the end of many of Hollywood’s best films and television’s biggest hits. Just why has our home state become such a Mecca for major film and television productions?

The Georgia Film Industry Explained

It’s no secret that Georgia’s film industry has been experiencing an exponential boom over the last decade, and if you live around Atlanta, chances are you’ve seen some of it firsthand. This may seem like an entirely new phenomenon, but believe it or not, Georgia has a rich history in film production that stretches back some 50 years.

Georgia’s film industry traces its roots back to 1973, when then Georgia governor (and soon-to-be president) Jimmy Carter established the Georgia State Film Commission. Carter’s goal at the time was to entice production companies into the state with an attractive list of resources and shooting locations, and his gamble paid off in short order.

For a time, Georgia became a major player in the industry, and although it was still utterly dwarfed by Hollywood’s global prestige, several popular movies and television shows began calling Georgia home. Episodes of the popular television series The Dukes of Hazzard were shot here, for example, and several big box office hits of the era like Driving Miss Daisy were filmed around Georgia landmarks.

The boom was short-lived though, and although business continued to trickle through Georgia into the late 1990s with films like Outbreak and Remember The Titans, the state had all but lost its competitive foothold in the industry by the early 2000s. Georgia needed to take drastic measures to win back its former glory, and that’s just what it did.

jumanji the next level

2005: The Georgia Film Renaissance Begins

While it may not be the sexiest explanation in the world, Georgia’s current film boom actually owes all its success to a single source: Taxes.

Granted, Georgia is a great place to shoot geographically speaking (we’ve got everything from mountains to beaches within a day’s drive of Atlanta), but if production companies can get it done cheaper somewhere else, why wouldn’t they?

Taking that fact into account, Georgia government officials introduced the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act (aka HB539), which provided massive tax incentives for large-scale film projects in the state.

We don’t use the word “massive” lightly here. The initial incentive gave a whopping 20% tax credit to production companies that spent $500,000 or more on projects within the state. The bill was updated again in 2008, and the latest version offers an additional 10% credit to any production that agrees to include a promotional “Made In Georgia” logo in the opening or closing credits of a production.

With those figures in mind, it’s really no surprise that Georgia has become one of the biggest names in film production today. Movies like Spider-Man: No Way Home (which boasted a budget of some $200 million) stood to save untold millions of dollars by choosing Georgia over traditional locations like New York and Los Angeles.

So, do tax incentives work? According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, they absolutely do.

In 2004, the last year before the Entertainment Investment act was signed into law, the state of Georgia claimed roughly $124 million in growth to the local economy from a mix of productions ranging from movies and TV shows to music videos and commercials. Fast forward to 2019, and in just 15 years that figure has grown to a staggering $2.9 billion. According to the Savannah Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia film industry now ranks first globally in the production of top-grossing feature films, out-earning California, New York and the United Kingdom

Stranger Things season 4

What Films and TV Shows Have Been Shot In Georgia?

Now in full swing for nearly two decades, the Georgia film industry has been cranking out some of the biggest titles on the silver screen. Here are just a few of Georgia’s success stories.

Anchorman 2: You may have thought you were watching Steve Carell torch Kanye West with a laser gun in the streets of New York City, but Anchorman 2’s epic fight scene was actually shot around Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta.

Black Panther: Although the film was shot in various locations around the world, Marvel’s Black Panther called Georgia home for some of its biggest scenes. The opening scene in the Oakland projects was actually shot in Atlanta’s Wheat Street Towers, the High Museum of Art was used as the fictional “Museum of Great Britain”, and believe it or not, the battle for Wakanda was shot on a farm in Chattahoochee Hills.

Remember the Titans: You don’t have to love sports to love this star-studded drama (Denzel Washington, Ryan Gosling, Hayden Panettiere) about a Virginia high school football team chasing their championship dreams. The film was actually shot in various towns in Georgia though (Covington, Druid Hills, Rome), and you can also see a few Georgia culinary staples in the film like The Varsity and The Silver Skillet.

Baby Driver: FINALLY, a film shot in Atlanta that actually takes place here! Baby Driver was a high-octane treat with a high-quality soundtrack, and although director Edgar Wright originally intended the film to take place in L.A., he chose to rewrite the script around landmark Atlanta locations after spending a few weeks here soaking up the culture.

Avengers: Infinity War
Avengers: Endgame
Bad Boys for Life
Black Widow
Captain America: Civil War
Fast Five
Fast & Furious 7
The Fate of the Furious
Fear Street series
Ford vs. Ferrari
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
Hidden Figures
The Hunger Games series
I, Tonya
Jungle Cruise
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Jumanji: The Next Level
Logan Lucky
Ride Along
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Stranger Things
The Vampire Diaries
The Walking Dead
X-Men: First Class

guardians of the galaxy vol. 2

Upcoming Films Shot In Georgia

The film industry is rapidly recovering from the COVID-19 setback, and Georgia shows no signs of slowing down in 2022. At the time of this writing, there are at least 37 major projects currently being filmed here. Here are a few highlights currently shooting in the state to look forward to.

Blade/Perfect Imprints: If you stuck around after the credits of Marvel’s The Eternals you might have picked up on the teaser for Perfect Imprints, the reboot of everyone’s favorite leather-clad, sword-wielding vampire hunter, Blade. The film is currently being shot in Atlanta with Mahershala Ali stepping into Wesley Snipes’ shoes for the lead role. 

One Fast Move: Drama… Romance… Motorcycle racing… What more could you ask for? Riverdale’s KJ Apa stars as an aspiring racer learning his way around the racetrack from his estranged father.

Dead Silent Season 5: Psychological horror meets true crime docuseries in the fifth season of Discovery’s immensely popular show, Dead Silent. New hour-long episodes are being filmed in various locations around the state, which is wild considering there’s more than a full season’s worth of spookiness on the Silver Comet Trail alone.

7 Little Johnstons S8
A Christmas Prayer
A Family Affair
A Man in Full
Black Girl Stuff S1
Black Spartans
Dashing Through the Snow
Dish Nation S10
Fear the Walking Dead S8
First 48 S20
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3
Hack My Home S1
Happiness Playbook
Holiday Road
Homegrown S2
Houston S1
Idea of You
Judge Steve Harvey S2
Love's Secret Ingredient
Married to Real Estate S2
Perfect Imprints
Slumber Party
Sweet Magnolias S3
SWV & Xscape
The English Teacher
The Game S2
The Other Black Girl
The Pain Merchants aka Pain Hustlers
The Queen's Court S1
The Resident S6
Them S2
Uncensored S6
What's Cooking ATL S1
Wild N'Out
Wise Guy S1
Wolf Pack S1
Zatima S2

thor odinson with creature comforts tropicalia from avengers endgame

Beer in Films

Sweetwater Blue, Sweetwater 420, and Terrapin Hopsecutioner were all featured in the supermarket fight in The Walking Dead season 4 premiere “30 Days Without An Accident.”

Creature Comforts Brewing Co.’s Athena and Tropicália are Thor Odinson’s beverages of choice in the second-biggest box office hit of all-time: Avengers: Endgame.

A Scofflaw Brewing Co. keg was featured in scene from 2017’s A Bad Moms Christmas.

Creature Comforts and Thor

Creature Comforts Athena Berliner Weisse and Tropicália IPA are both featured being imbibed by Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) in Avengers: Endgame, the latter of which is even used as a way to convince the reluctant Asgardian to return to Avengers HQ by Guardians of the Galaxy member Rocket Racoon.

In 2017, when both Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame were being filmed in Georgia, some production assistants fell in love with the easy-drinking yet ultra-flavorful IPA (which, at this point, was almost impossible to find with regularity due to extremely high demand). When the movie’s production team wanted to feature a local brewery in the film, there was only one choice: Tropicália!

Photos Courtesy Georgia Film Office

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