Several major studios have announced their intention to reconsider filming in Georgia if the state’s new abortion law comes into effect, the latest being WarnerMedia and AMC. The news comes in the wake of several other big-name studios recently stating their filming future in Georgia could be in jeopardy because of the bill. Within the past couple of days both Disney CEO Bob Iger and Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos have stated their companies might rethink filming in the state due to the controversial law.
The bill in question was signed by Georgia’s Republican governor Brian Kemp earlier this month and will take effect in January 2020 if enacted. Known as the "heartbeat bill," it seeks to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. This can be as early as six weeks into gestation, before many women even realize they are pregnant. According to the bill, exceptions could be made in cases of rape and incest (if the incident is reported) or medical emergency.
THR reports that a slew of studios have joined Disney and Netflix in voicing their concerns over Georgia’s abortion bill, including WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, AMC, Sony, Viacom and STX. WarnerMedia, which is currently filming The Conjuring 3 in Georgia and is set to start shooting The Suicide Squad there soon, issued a statement that read:
"We operate and produce work in many states and within several countries at any given time, and while that doesn't mean we agree with every position taken by a state or country and their leaders, we do respect due process … We will watch the situation closely, and if the new law holds we will reconsider Georgia as the home to any new productions. As is always the case, we will work closely with our production partners and talent to determine how and where to shoot any given project."
A similar sentiment was echoed by the other studios too, with many stating their intention to closely monitor the situation and act accordingly should the heartbeat bill take effect. A spokesperson for AMC, which has filmed its flagship show The Walking Dead in Georgia for the past decade, stated: "If this highly restrictive legislation goes into effect, we will reevaluate our activity in Georgia.”
Others have taken a different approach to demonstrating their dissent. J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele, whose upcoming HBO horror series Lovecraft Country is being filmed in Georgia, have pledged to donate profits from the first season of the show to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia and Fair Fight Georgia - two groups that are campaigning against the abortion bill. STX Entertainment, which is currently shooting its Gerard Butler-fronted disaster movie Greenland in Georgia, stated it wouldn’t relocate production so as to prevent the loss of local jobs but would be making a donation to the ACLU of Georgia.
Georgia’s reputation as a filmmaking hotspot has grown considerably over the past decade or so. Amongst the major productions recently filmed in the state were the Disney-Marvel blockbusters Avengers: Endgame and Black Panther. Considering that Black Panther alone generated more than $80 million for Georgia’s economy the abortion bill could be particularly damaging for the state should it come into effect and the studio decide to stop filming there.