James Jan-Feb 2021 web - Flipbook - Page 38
he history of movies and entertainment in
Georgia can be split into two eras: pre-incentive and post-incentive.
The pre-incentive era certainly produced a handful
of big hits. A Civil War movie called “Gone with the
Wind” is still the top grossing movie of all-time adjusted
for ination— about $1.8 billion. The epic about Scarlett
and Rhett sold somewhere north of 200 million tickets
in its 1939 debut and for at least seven rereleases since
then. When it debuted in Atlanta, 300,000 people turned
out for the premiere at the Loew’s Grand Theater on
Peachtree Street— about 10 percent of the state’s population at the time.
Georgia’s adopted son Burt Reynolds never quite
achieved that level of success but “Deliverance” and
“Smokey and the Bandit” were very popular and he
made a number of other movies here, including “The
Longest Yard,” “Gator” and “Sharky’s Machine” (a neonoir cop thriller, it captures a little slice of late 1970’s/
early 1980’s Atlanta).
A few years later, a movie about an elderly woman
and her black chauffeur called “Driving Miss Daisy” shot
in Atlanta received nine Oscar nominations and won
four: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Makeup and Best
Adapted Screenplay. Miss Daisy’s home in the movie
can still be found in the neighborhood between Emory
University and Ponce de Leon Avenue.
For 70 or so years, the movie and television business
in Georgia was largely due to one-off productions from
those looking to set something here or hometown folks
like Reynolds (or, more recently, Tyler Perry) looking to
make their mark away from lots in California.
Georgia Tax Incentives Changed Everything
JANUARY/ FEBRUA RY 2021
Then, in 2008, the General Assembly passed into law
a 30 percent tax credit for productions done in Georgia.
Then-Gov. Sonny Perdue probably did not realize just
what a game changer that level of credit was. The signing
ceremony for the 2008 credits took place at the studios
of TBS. Perdue was joined by the chairman and CEO of
TBS along with some 100 others from the legislature,
industry leaders and the entertainment industry.
“We know that our excellent talent base and outstanding locations make Georgia a very desirable place to
lm. This legislation puts in place the economic cornerstone that will encourage producers to convert that
desire into action,” said Perdue. Indeed it did.
The economic impact of all these entertainment
segments in Georgia was $413 million in 2007. Ten years
later, as Perdue’s successor Nathan Deal was getting
ready to leave office in 2017, the direct spending from
projects was $2.7 billion (the more debated number of
“overall economic impact” was estimated to be $9.5
billion that year).
In 2016, Georgia overtook California as the number
one lm location in the world. As the Georgia Film,
Music & Digital Entertainment office from the Department of Economic Development puts it in a promo,
this means jobs not just for actors but also “carpenters,
electricians, plumbers, hairdressers, make-up, make-upateers. It’s hotels, food service for cast and crew.” A lot
of jobs that support all the jobs that support the jobs
visible on the screen.
“Georgia’s lm industry supports thousands of jobs,
boosts small business growth and expands offerings
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