AMC issues statement on The Walking Dead’s future in Georgia

Danai Gurira as Michonne - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Danai Gurira as Michonne - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC /

As more productions pick a side in the divisive fight over reproductive rights in Georgia AMC finally weighs on The Walking Dead’s future in Georgia.

Entertainment is big business in Georgia, and the big name productions that are thinking of pulling out could cost the state hundreds of thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in revenue.

But more and more companies are weighing in on the issue after Netflix announced that if the law, which was signed recently, is not struck down in court and does go into effect in 2020 the way it’s scheduled to do they will “reevaluate” filming in Georgia.

Today The Hollywood Reporter  had quotes from many more major studios who warned that they also would be considering pulling their productions out of Georgia if the law isn’t struck down.

Warner Media, CB, Viacom, NBC Universal, and Sony all issued statements saying that they will reconsider filming in Georgia and in the other states that are currently enacting highly restrictive laws on reproductive rights if any of the laws actually survive a court challenge and take effect.

AMC, which has been filming The Walking Dead in Georgia since the beginning of the show and has revitalized the town of Senoia bringing in new businesses, jobs, and a massive tourist industry, issued a statement today through a spokesperson saying that they too will be reconsidering the future of The Walking Dead in Georgia should the controversial law take effect. AMC’s spokesperson said:

"“If this highly restrictive legislation goes into effect, we will reevaluate our activity in Georgia. Similar bills – some even more restrictive – have passed in multiple states and have been challenged. This is likely to be a long and complicated fight and we are watching it all very closely.”"

Fear The Walking Dead films in Austin, TX and the recently announced second spinoff of The Walking Dead is set to film in Virginia so production of the flagship show could possibly be moved to either of those locations if AMC decides to leave Georgia.

The Economic Fallout

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has been combative with Hollywood on this issue and has sneered at Hollywood’s concern over the law saying that it won’t have that much impact on the state. However, he did cancel  a scheduled trip to Hollywood to court production companies and try to convince them to come to Georgia to film after he signed the law and got immediate pushback from the filming industry.

The economic fallout of major productions, including The Walking Dead, leaving Georgia would be enormous. Movie and TV productions bring in almost 10 billion dollars for the state each year and much of that money ends up getting spent in small towns and rural areas that need those dollars as well as the jobs and tourists that these productions draw.

The Walking Dead Franchise

AMC has invested heavily in expanding The Walking Dead franchise and clearly has no plans to slow down their rollout of movies and other spinoffs set in The Walking Dead universe. If AMC decides to film The Walking Dead outside of Georgia it could move filming to Austin, TX where Fear The Walking Dead is filmed. That would make a lot of sense because the two shows now share two characters, Morgan and Dwight, and filming in the same location could open up new ways for the two worlds to interact.

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A Waiting Game

Georgia’s controversial law is going to be ultimately either upheld or struck down by the courts so it remains to be seen if the law will take effect in 202 the way it’s scheduled to do. In the meantime some Hollywood heavy hitters like J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele are donating money to the ACLU, which is fighting the law in court, while they continue to film in the state.

Emotions are running high on both of sides of this highly divisive issue but the economic hit that Georgia will take if the law isn’t struck down could end up hurting the residents of Georgia for decades. That might not be a big deal to Governor Kemp, but it should be a concern to the people who live in Georgia. The Walking Dead season 10 is currently filming in Georgia and will be unaffected by the controversy.