While movies can be the stuff of make believe, the film and television industry in Georgia provides more than 25,000 real jobs for real people. And those are just the jobs directly involved in production. Other film-related jobs include hair and makeup stylists, caterers, truck drivers, electricians, painters, construction workers, accountants, security guards and many more.
The direct economic benefits of film production in Georgia came to nearly $3.1 billion in 2012 and positively impacted thousands of businesses, from hotels, restaurants, grocery stores and rental car companies to hardware stores, lumber yards, garden nurseries, heavy equipment rentals and office supply companies.
By working hard to attract film and television production to Georgia through tax incentives, Georgia’s Camera Ready program, and by encouraging private partners to build sound stages, post-production facilities and additional infrastructure to support large-scale productions, we’re strengthening Georgia’s economy and providing jobs and economic stability for families all over the state.
Here are some film and TV production facts that show the positive impact filming in Georgia has had on filmmakers, Georgia residents and cities and towns throughout the state.
- Georgia is one of the top 5 production destinations in the country.
- Economic impact of entertainment industry projects handled by the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office in FY 2012: approximately $3.1 billion.
- 333 productions shot in the state in FY 2012.
- Recent films shot in Georgia include Flight, Trouble With The Curve, Lawless, Parental Guidance, Madea's Witness Protection, Footloose (2012), Joyful Noise, Wanderlust, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, American Reunion, The Three Stooges, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Fast 5, and X-Men: First Class.
- A record number of television series are shooting in the state, including The Walking Dead, Single Ladies, Auction Kings, Necessary Roughness, Vampire Diaries, and Drop Dead Diva.
- Over 25,000 Georgia residents are employed in the entertainment industries, including 11,000 full-time equivalent positions.
- Since 2008, more than 30 industry-specific supplier companies have expanded or relocated to Georgia, including EUE/ Screen Gems Studios Atlanta, Raleigh Studios at Riverwood, Atlanta Film Studios Paulding County, Paskal Lighting, and Panavision, the world leader in camera equipment.
- Atlanta is home to entertainment companies like Tyler Perry Studios, Turner Studios and Rainforest Films.
- Since 1972, more than 700 feature films, TV movies, TV series, single episodes and pilots have been produced in Georgia, generating over $7 billion dollars in economic impact.
- The state’s first tax incentive, a point of purchase sales and use tax exemption, was introduced in 2002.
- The state’s second and most progressive tax incentive, the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act, was signed into law by Former Governor Sonny Perdue in May 2005 and updated in May 2008.
- Average number of local employees on a medium budget feature film: Approximately 150-175 people. Larger budget production: Approximately 200-250 people.
- Average feature film budget: $41.7 million.
- Average amount (below-the-line) of feature film budget spent in a jurisdiction (state, province): 60% - 70%. Higher for locally produced projects.
- More than 14 in-state colleges and universities offer degrees or study in film and television production.
- There are 132 movie theaters in Georgia, with 1,208 screens, employing 1,254 people.
- X-Men: First Class used Jekyll Island as Cuba in the finale pitting the superheroes against one another and U.S. and Russian navy ships.
- Fast 5 used portions of Metro Atlanta as Rio de Janeiro.
- Georgia-lensed movies X-Men: First Class, Zombieland and The Blind Side all opened at No. 1 at the box office.
- Flight was nominated for 2 Academy Awards in 2012, including Best Actor (Denzel Washington) and Best Original Screenplay. The Blind Side was nominated for 2 Academy Awards in 2009, including Best Picture and Best Actress in a Leading Role (Sandra Bullock).
- The primary location in the film adaptation of Nicolas Sparks’ novel The Last Song, starring Miley Cyrus, was changed to Tybee Island and filmed in and around the local community.
- Wild Adventures amusement park in Valdosta was the location of the climactic zombie fight in Zombieland.
- The Crazies used Perry, Fort Valley, Cordele and Montezuma as stand-ins for fictional Ogden Marsh, Iowa.
- Drop Dead Diva was the Lifetime network's most popular original series in 2009, and filmed in Peachtree City.
- Three of Tyler Perry’s made-in-Georgia films have opened at No. 1 at the box office.
- Box office hits Facing the Giants, Fireproof and Courageous were produced by Sherwood Pictures in Albany.
- The HBO feature Warm Springs garnered 16 Emmy nominations with 8 Georgians represented in six categories. It ended up winning 5 Emmys, including 3 presented to Georgians. Filming locations included Warm Springs, Gainesville, Atlanta, Madison and Summerville.
- Crawfordville has been host to more than 8 feature films and television movies (Get Low, Sweet Home Alabama, The Neon Bible, Stars and Bars, The Coward of the County).
- Savannah has been host to dozens of feature film and television projects that include: Forrest Gump, Glory, The Last Song, The Conspirator, The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Gift, Forces of Nature, and The General’s Daughter.
- Deliverance was filmed primarily in Rabun County and will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2012. The film is credited for giving birth to the whitewater rafting industry.
- Columbus hosted The Fighting Temptations at its River Center for the Performing Arts.
- Covington has been home to dozens of feature and television projects, including the hit TV series The Vampire Diaries and In the Heat of the Night.
- Rome hosted Sweet Home Alabama as well as The Mosquito Coast, Remember the Titans and Class of 61.
- Americus was host to the TV movie To Dance with the White Dog.
- The small town of Juliette was revitalized when Fried Green Tomatoes was largely shot in that community. The Whistle Stop Café still functions as a tourist attraction.
- In the movie Lawless, Meriwether County and surrounding areas stood in for Virgina moonshine country in the Prohibition era.
- In the movie Flight, Denzel Washington’s character meets with his lawyer, played by Don Cheadle, over breakfast at the St. Regis hotel’s daily executive buffet.
- The lead actor of The Blind Side, Quinton Aaron, almost lost his home to foreclosure before being told he was cast in the blockbuster film. He was so desperate for work that he gave director Hancock his card after the audition. Quinton revealed: "I told him, 'I know that I'm probably not going to get this movie. But I do security guard work and if you guys need a security guard on the set, I would love the job. I need the job.”
- Jennifer Aniston became a big fan of Clarkesville, GA after shooting Wanderlust on location in the North Georgia mountains. Stated Aniston, "Going to Clarkesville gave me a huge change - it was an eye opener. It was the greatest experience because I felt like I gained my anonymity back. When I got there I felt my body decompress and relax. I was like, 'God, I'm so paranoid and pent up'. The toxic clutter was just alleviated. It was a nice feeling and I took it home with me.”
- Tim Burton’s remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory used a home in Buford to serve as the home of Violet Beauregard—the gum chewer.
- The main vampire lair for the hit television series The Vampire Diaries was the Candler Mansion ‘Glenridge Hall’ in Sandy Springs. Because they used the location so often, they eventually recreated the interior of the home on their sound stages in Decatur.
- The Okefenokee Swamp, one of the oldest and best preserved freshwater systems in America, is the largest swamp in North America. In 1941, French New Wave director Jean Renoir shot his first American film, Swamp People in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia.
- Despite the movie's title, Sweet Home Alabama, the house Melanie pretends is her home is really at Berry College in Mt. Berry in Northwest Georgia. This house, called Oak Hill, is a Georgia historic landmark and was the original home of the college founder, Martha Berry.
- After the 2000 film The Legend of Bagger Vance was released, so many patrons visited the Jekyll Island Club to have a drink at the ‘lobby bar’ which had been built, and removed, by the film company, that the Club recreated it for patrons to enjoy.
- Three generations of the Zanuck family produced films in Georgia—Darryl Zanuck produced Jean Renoir’s Swamp People, his son Richard produced Driving Miss Daisy and his grandson Dean produced Get Low.
- Georgia Tech doubled as the Google headquarters in the Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson comedy The Interns, their first film together since the blockbuster hit The Wedding Crashers.