Disney and Netflix made the first move and now AT&T’s WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, CBS, AMC, Sony, and Viacom are following suit as they threaten to reconsider their investment options for filming in Georgia.
In a recent interview with Reuters, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the company is might stop filming movies and TV shows in Georgia if the state’s new controversial law on abortion goes into effect.
The new anti-abortion law would prevent women from undergoing the procedure as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected by a doctor. This would mean that doctors cant conduct an abortion in as early as six weeks into pregnancy and by this time, some women may not even know they are pregnant.
Losing Disney would greatly impact Georgia’s annual tax revenue much of which is received from allowing the studios film in different locations. Disney is one of the prominent sources of revenue, having spent millions of dollars filming some of its biggest marvel films in Georgia, including Black Panther, Captain America: Civil War, and Avengers: Infinity War. According to the Governor’s office, Georgia earned close to $2.7 billion in 2017 in film licensing revenues.
The annual windfall is set to drop dramatically if the film companies opt to carry out their threats.
Iger told Reuters, “It would be very difficult” to carry on filming in Georgia and there’s a huge probability, they would shift camp to another state if the law goes into effect on January 1, 2020.
“I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard,” Iger told Reuters. “Right now we are watching it very carefully.”
Disney was the second company threatening to stop filming in Georgia if the law passes. Last week, Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, opened the floor when he said the company would “rethink our entire investment in Georgia” if the state’s controversial law on abortion goes into effect.
“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” Sarandos said in a statement earlier this week. “Given the legislation has not yet been implemented, we’ll continue to film there, while also supporting partners and artists who choose not to.”
Considering that both companies spend quite some time in Georgia, the state may have to rethink its decision if it wishes to maintain the huge revenue flow from these filming giants. Netflix shoots Stranger Things and movies like the Upcoming Holidate in the state, while Disney also plans to use Georgia for some Disney+ shows like Kristin Bell’s new series Encore.
AT&T’s WarnerMedia is also threatening to stop filming in Georgia due to the controversial law. An official statement said that “WarnerMedia will reconsider Georgia as the home to any new productions. The statement further adds that WarnerMedia “will work closely with our production partners and talent to determine how and where to shoot any given project.”
NBCUniversal, AMC, Sony, Viacom, and CBS each offered a similar statement on Thursday, saying respectively that Georgia’s abortion law would “strongly impact our decision-making”; cause them to “reevaluate our activity”; “consider our future production options”; “assess whether we will continue to produce projects in Georgia”; or decide whether “these may not be viable locations for our future production.”