Film and TV Spending in Georgia Hits $4.4B

Georgia saw $4.4 billion in spending from film and TV productions in the fiscal year that ended June 30, the state’s film office said Monday.

Shooting in Georgia continues to surge thanks to its generous tax incentive program: The film industry spent $2.9 billion in 2019 and $4 billion in 2021 — both records at the time. The state, which has no annual cap on tax credits, offers studios a 20 percent incentive plus another 10 percent if they include a promotional peach logo in their projects and has the robust production infrastructure to support the lucrative program.

The film office said it hosted 412 productions — 32 feature films, 36 independent films, 269 episodic productions, 42 commercials, and 33 music videos in 2022. Big-budget TV shows continue to be a mainstay. The most recent seasons of Stranger Things, Ozark and Atlanta shot in the state.

Georgia was among the first states to reopen shooting after lockdown orders halted productions in 2020.

“When the pandemic struck, we worked hard in Georgia to communicate with our partners in the Georgia film, TV, and streaming industries,” Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement. 

“Together, we forged a safe and appropriate path to allow the film industry to return to operations and deliver Georgia Made productions to eager consumers all around the world – even when some states continued to stay shut down and stifle the industry’s return to normalcy,” he said. “Because of this partnership approach and the resiliency of our state’s film and television infrastructure, which state and local economic development officials have been working for almost fifty years to build, we are once again celebrating incredible growth and investment from industry leaders.”

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Studio space in Georgia is growing amid a global shortage. Cinelease Studios-Three Ring broke ground on a $144 million studio expansion in Covington. Electric Owl Studios did the same on a 17-acre site for a six-stage, 300,000-square-foot film studio in Stone Mountain, which saw investments from private equity firm Domain Capital Group and real estate development company Capstone South Properties. And Shadowbox Studios, formerly Blackhall Studios, unveiled plans in June to more than double the size of its Atlanta facility as part of a $500 million expansion that will add 1.2 million square feet and 22 new soundstages, making it one of the biggest production facilities in Georgia and in the U.S. South. The investment from private equity firm Silver Lake will also go toward expanding the studio’s footprint in London and Los Angeles.

In March, lawmakers proposed a controversial bill that proposed to cap the amount the state spends on film and TV tax credits at $900 million a year and make it so that studios cannot sell them. The legislation was pulled.

Critics of Georgia’s tax incentive program have argued in favor of capping the credits and ensuring that they’re targeted to companies located in Georgia that hire in-state workers. In 2020, state auditors found that nearly 90 percent of the credits went to non-Georgia companies and a majority of labor expenditures went to out-of-state residents.

Georgia handed out $1.2 billion and $860 million in tax breaks to the film industry in 2021 and 2019, respectively.