Amid backlash to Georgia’s new voting law last week, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy saw an opportunity: On April 1, he sent a letter to studio heads trying to woo production out of Georgia and into the Garden State. New Jersey has a better record on voting rights, he said, adding that the two states offer a similar 30 percent tax credit and New Jersey offers a 40 percent credit on studio construction projects.
What Gov. Murphy declined to address is that Georgia has an uncapped incentive program — and most of all, a massive production infrastructure built over two decades.
At this point, extracting Hollywood from Georgia is all but impossible: Too much time has been invested, and too much money is available. No other state presents a viable alternative, which may explain the still-muted response from studios over the voting laws.
More than a decade after Georgia launched its production tax credit program, Marvel shoots its films and TV shows at the 18-stage Trilith Studios. In 2015, Tyler Perry converted Atlanta’s retired Fort McPherson Army Base into his 330-acre Tyler Perry Studios, the largest production studio in the U.S.
According to a 2018 study by FilmLA, Georgia’s 2 million square feet of stages were second only to California, which has 5.2 million square feet. Space in Georgia has increased since then: Today, there’s 1.8 million square feet of stages and 1.8 million of warehouse space, according to a Georgia Department of Economic Development spokeswoman, who said state officials are expecting another 1 million square feet of stages to be built within the next year.
By contrast, New Jersey has around 200,000 square feet of sound stages, according to data provided by the state’s Motion Picture and TV Commission. A spokesman said development is underway of additional studio space.
In 2018, Georgia ranked third among filming locations for theatrical features in the US with 36 movies, after California (62) and New York (57), according to FilmLA — a figure that doesn’t include streaming movies, TV series, or other entertainment. See more here.