The CEO of Disney has threatened Georgia over its new pro-life law, which bans abortion after a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat.
But Bob Iger may want to consider the stockholders of his company, which made its fortune on providing entertainment to children, before going elsewhere.
It’s because Georgia offers probably the best financial aid to movie companies in the nation, in the form of tax credits.
The state granted some $800 million in credits in its most recent yearly reporting, equal to the current take of the box office hit “Avengers: Endgame,” which was at $805 million domestically.
The 30 percent credit also is transferrable and saleable, meaning that even companies that don’t end up with massive liabilities in the state can benefit.
Nevertheless, Reuters reported, Iger said it would be “very difficult” for him to keep authorizing movie projects in Georgia “if a new abortion law takes effect.”
That’s because, he said, people in his industry won’t want to work in the state where the company previously filmed “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Endgame.”
“I rather doubt we will [continue],” Iger told Reuters. “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. Right now we are watching it very carefully.
“I don’t see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there.”
Georgia is one nearly a dozen states to pass pro-life legislation this year.
In many cases, the stated goal is to return the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court to give it an opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling doubted even by its author that created a “right” to abortion.
The Motion Picture Association of America says the industry provides 92,000 jobs in the state, with 455 projects in 2018.
Netflix officials have made the same threats as Iger.
State records show Georgia authorized more than $800 million in tax credits in fiscal 2017.
That’s up from $606 million in 2016, $504 million in 2015 and $358 million in 2014.
The state explained: “Film, television and digital entertainment tax credits of up to 30 percent create significant cost savings for companies producing feature films, television series, music videos and commercials, as well as interactive games and animation. Georgia’s Entertainment Industry Investment Act provides a 20 percent tax credit for companies that spend $500,000 or more on production and post-production in Georgia, either in a single production or on multiple projects.
“The state 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. In an interview with Variety magazine, Broderick Johnson, producer of ‘The Blind Side,’ said, ‘The magnitude of Georgia’s tax break is one of the best, if not the best in the country.’ Johnson’s award-winning film was one of hundreds of projects shot in Georgia in recent years.”
The Hollywood Reporter said two movies in production, “The Power” and “Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar,” plan to move out of Georgia.
A number of industry figures, including producer Neal Dodson, also plan to avoid the state.