The state of Georgia is one of the most sought after locations to film any Hollywood production due to its friendly eye-popping 35% tax incentive.
Nearly two-thirds of all Hollywood productions are filmed in or around the Atlanta, Georgia area. Nearly every Marvel production is filmed there, which should give you an idea how even the most expensive productions rely on incentives to mitigate risk.
But Atlanta might lose all of Hollywood’s business due to this new bill.
Georgia lawmakers recently passed a controversial bill that bans abortions once a heartbeat is detected in an embryo, called the “heartbeat abortion bill,” which is typically about six weeks. Nobody is more furious than liberals.
The measure passed in the Georgia House with 92 votes, but it still needed the governor’s signature before the bill became law and on Tuesday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed it into law.
Currently in Georgia, women are allowed to undergo abortion procedures up to their 20th week of pregnancy. Starting on January 1st 2020, the bill will ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
Kemp said Tuesday morning at the state Capitol that the bill “is very simple but also very powerful: a declaration that all life has value, that all life matters, and that all life is worthy of protection. I realize that some may challenge it in a court of law. But our job is to do what is right, not what is easy. We are called to be strong and courageous, and we will not back down. We will always continue to fight for life.”
And we knew it was coming.
When the House passed the bill Kemp tweeted,“Georgia values life. We stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The legislature’s bold action reaffirms our priorities and who we are as a state. I thank these lawmakers for their leadership and applaud their undeniable courage.”
But what does all this have to do with the film industry?
In late March, 50 famous actors signed a pledge they would refuse any work where the production was filmed in Georgia when the bill passed in the House including; Amy Schumer, Amber Tamblyn, Alec Baldwin, Don Cheadle, Rosie O’Donnell, Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Essence Atkins, UzoAduba, Gabrielle Union, Christina Applegate, Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, David Cross, Mia Farrow, Colin Hanks, and Bradley Whitford.
They called it a “deeply flawed bill” in a letter they all co-signed.
And those are just the actors. Many directors, producers, writers, and networks are joining the actors in their boycott quest.
The Writers Guild of America East and West also condemned HB481, saying it “would make Georgia an inhospitable place for those in the film and television industry. It is entirely possible that many of those in our industry will either want to leave the state or decide not to bring productions there.”
In a situation like this what will happen is productions that decide to take advantage of Georgia’s tax incentive will have trouble finding any distribution for their film because they’re all banding together against the Bill, which also means they won’t recoup their budget. So if you were a film investor would you roll the dice and take that risk? Probably not.
On the other hand, Governor Kemp doesn’t care that they will lose a lot of Hollywood business.
Kemp told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), “I can’t govern because I’m worried about what someone in Hollywood thinks about me. I ran the last two years on these issues, and I got elected with the largest number of votes in the history of the state of Georgia, and I’m doing what I told people I would do … Our business environment’s good. We cannot change our values of who we are for money. And we’re not going to do that. That’s what makes our state great.”
Productions now will be forced to shoot in Louisiana or north of the American border in Canada because they’re the only others that have a 35% tax incentive.