Even though Hollywood actors and executives are fleeing Georgia in response to the state's newly passed abortion bill, South Carolina's Film Commission doesn't appear poised to take advantage of any potential new business.
There are already three TV shows being filmed in Charleston, and Dan Rogers, project manager of the film commission, said all of the group's incentive money — $15 million — is committed to those productions. That $15 million is funded by a percentage of the state admissions tax, which is paid for through ticket sales at concerts, shows and performances, and by the state general fund.
"Any other productions wishing to shoot here would do so only if they didn’t need or want incentives, which very few do," Rogers said.
Meanwhile, in Georgia, actress and comedian Kristen Wiig and producer Miranda Bailey are among Hollywood notables who have pulled their programs out of the state due to the so-call "heartbeat bill," which will ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
Likewise, Netflix issued a statement in May saying the popular TV and movie streaming company might be rethinking its entire investment in Georgia, home to the bustling $9.5 billion Atlanta film industry where hit shows like "Stranger Things" and "Insatiable" are shot.
“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law," said Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, in a statement. "It’s why we will work with the ACLU and others to fight it in court. Given the legislation has not yet been implemented, we’ll continue to film there — while also supporting partners and artists who choose not to. Should it ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia.”
Georgia's heartbeat bill is set to be implemented in 2020. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Georgia offers more film tax credits than any other place in the world except the U.K.
"I don’t have the exact numbers, but it’s my understanding the state has been issuing close to $700 million in tax credits each year for the past several years," Rogers said.
While South Carolina provides $15 million in incentives annually, Rogers says North Carolina provides $31 million a year. Both of the Carolinas require productions to spend $1 million in-state before they are eligible for an incentive. In North Carolina, feature-length film producers are required to spend even more — $3 million — before they are eligible.
The current Charleston-based shows include "Mr. Mercedes," the Stephen King drama series; "The Righteous Gemstones," an HBO comedy starring John Goodman, Adam Devine and Lowcountry-based actor Danny McBride; and "OBX," the Netflix series fictitiously set on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. News outlets have reported that the production of that show was moved to South Carolina because of another controversial bill, North Carolina's "bathroom bill," which requires people to use bathrooms that correspond to their birth sex.
Rogers says two of those shows are expected to return next year, leaving little room to draw in even one more series, much less an entire film industry, from Georgia.