Georgia on My Disc Player12 Aug, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel
To some, the sight of Zombies stumbling along rural roads north of Atlanta might be from episodes of “The Walking Dead.” To the state of Georgia, the flesh-eating mutants, along with buddy cops, killer teens, speeding cars, wayward vampires and goofball comedy all add up to a workforce creator and economic force worth billions.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal this month announced that Georgia-licensed feature films and television productions generated an economic impact of $5.1 billion during fiscal-year 2014 (ended June 30). The 158 feature film and television productions that filmed in Georgia spent $1.4 billion during that time.
Georgia-filmed movies slated to open theatrically in the coming months include The Last of Robin Hood, starring Kevin Kline; The Good Lie, starring Reese Witherspoon; Kill the Messenger, starring Jeremy Renner; Dumb and Dummer To, starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels; and Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1. Another movie currently filming in Atlanta is Ride Along 2, with Ice Cube and Kevin Hart.
The fiscal year also saw movie productions filming in Georgia such as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 and The Divergent Series: Insurgent (Lionsgate), Taken 3 (20th Century Fox Studios) and Fast and Furious 7 (Universal), among others.
Resuming TV productions include “Walking Dead” on AMC, “Constantine” on NBC, “The Red Band Society” on Fox and “The Vampire Diaries” on The CW.
Those productions and recent titles such as Universal Studios Home Entertainment’s Sabotage (filmed in downtown Atlanta) and Anchor Bay Home Entertainment’s The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season, which streets Aug. 26, and “Rectify” all end up in home entertainment, with much of their bonus material culled from on-set footage and cast and crew interviews created in Georgia.
Indeed, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) said Georgia’s film industry is responsible for more than 77,900 jobs and $3.8 billion in total wages. Nearly 23,500 people are directly employed by the motion picture and television industry in the state, including 8,188 production-related employees. Studios Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox Studios, Warner Bros., Walt Disney Studios, Sony Pictures, and Universal Studios paid $696 million to 4,066 vendors in Georgia in 2012. These local businesses include technology, lodging, real estate and food service.
“Not only has this industry created jobs and investment opportunities for Georgians, it also has revitalized communities, established new educational programs, tourism product and more,” Gov. Deal said in a statement.
In addition to tax breaks, unique southern geography and lighting to woo Hollywood, the state’s “high demand career initiative” met July 1 to focus on the film and digital entertainment industry. The meeting was intended to help identify specific needs of businesses that are producing film, TV and digital entertainment projects.
The state of Georgia said it is prepared to meet content creators’ needs through a collective effort between the Georgia Economic Development, the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia and key leaders in the entertainment industries in Georgia.
To help tell the story of how important Hollywood is to Georgia, the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office (GFMDO) created a video to showcase the individuals who are benefiting from a booming film industry in Georgia.
Last year the GFMDO bowed website ComeTourGeorgia.com to enable aficionados of Georgia-lensed movies and TV shows to learn more about the state’s film history, movie tours, film locations, destinations and events.
“The film industry is a powerful economic generator and is creating jobs for Georgians as well as new opportunities to a highly skilled workforce,” Chris Carr, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, said in a statement. “Since 2008, more than 90 companies have located in Georgia to support the industry. These new businesses are generating jobs and ensuring the industry’s sustainability in Georgia well into the future.”