James Bond studio to open first U.S. facility in Georgia
ATLANTA — The British film studio home to the James Bond franchise announced plans Monday for its first U.S. movie production facility at a site near Atlanta.
“Today’s agreement is another step forward for the Pinewood brand internationally,” said Ivan Dunleavy, CEO of Pinewood Shepperton PLC, which has studios in the United Kingdom, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Germany and Malaysia.
Recent films shot at Pinewood Studios, based outside of London, include the upcoming Angelina Jolie film, “Maleficent,” and “Jack Ryan.”
Dunleavy added that Georgia has “excellent fiscal incentives and a great crew base.”
In Georgia, the large-scale film complex will be called Pinewood Atlanta and the studio would manage the facility under an agreement with a group of private investors.
The studio will be developed on 288 acres south of Atlanta and include at least five soundstages as well as production offices.
It’s the fifth major studio development or expansion announced in Georgia in recent months. Last week, Atlanta-based developer Jacoby Development said it would build an estimated $1 billion multi-use project north of Atlanta that will include 12 soundstages as well as production offices and an arts and media school aimed at training the next generation of film industry employees.
The Pinewood project is a major coup for Georgia. While Pinewood Studios has an office in Los Angeles, it chose the Southeast for its first production facility.
While California has numerous soundstages, not many have been built in recent years as the state has been grappling with the effects of runaway production and the lagging economy. A survey last year found California lost $3 billion in wages from 2004 to 2011 because of film and TV production moving to other states and countries, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
Half the wages went to states like Georgia that offer tax incentives and rebates to the industry. Other states include New York, Louisiana and North Carolina.
Last year, productions filmed in Georgia generated an estimated $3.1 billion in economic activity, a 29 percent increase from the year before.
TV shows like AMC’s “The Walking Dead” film in Georgia, and recently “The Hunger Games” wrapped up in locations around Atlanta. The state is also seeing a burgeoning film tourism industry with fans of these popular film and TV franchises planning vacations around set visits and tours.
While studio developers building soundstages are not eligible for the state’s generous tax credit program, the production companies making films are. Georgia currently provides a 20 percent tax credit for companies that spend $500,000 or more on production and post-production in the state, either in a single production or on multiple projects.
Georgia also grants an additional 10 percent tax credit if the finished project includes a promotional logo provided by the state. If a company has little or no Georgia tax liability, it can transfer or sell its tax credits.
Pinewood has been looking for opportunities to expand.
Earlier this month, Pinewood said in a joint venture agreement with one of China’s leading private media groups. That agreement calls for providing co-production opportunities for film and television, developing production financing for Chinese film and TV projects and creating film projects in places like Beijing and Shanghai.