They don’t call it the Hollywood of the South for nothing. Since 2008, when Georgia began offering a sizable tax incentive to filmmakers, the state has become a hot spot for movie and television shoots. In 2010, TV’s monster hit “The Walking Dead” came calling, and it was followed by more recent smashes, like “Stranger Things.” Some of the biggest motion pictures in history, including “The Hunger Games” franchise and Marvel Studio’s recent offerings, were made in Georgia.
All of which is good news for groups that want to check out the locations where their small or silver-screen favorites were filmed.
“If you look at our Explore Georgia website,” said Lee Thomas, deputy commissioner of the Georgia film office, “you can see that there are not only the tours given by tour companies, but there are also a lot of suggestions for self-guided tours. And there’s something for everybody.”
Here are some places in Georgia where your group can enjoy film and TV tours.
The epicenter of Georgia’s film and television location shoots, the ATL is home to Atlanta Movie Tours, which boasts 11 blockbuster location tours. The 8-year-old company offers four separate “Walking Dead” tours; an Upside Down Tour themed around “Stranger Things”; the “Gone With the Wind” tour, guided by a costumed Margaret Mitchell interpreter; and various tours that visit sites where Marvel Studio features, the “Hunger Games” trilogy and movies by African American filmmakers were shot.
Among the sites groups will recognize is the Jackson Street Bridge; the view from it was featured in the iconic cover art for season one of “The Walking Dead.” Sleepy Hollow Farms features a building that doubled as Hopper’s cabin in “Stranger Things,” and the streets around the Healey Building have been used in everything from “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” to “Venom,” “The Walking Dead,” “Stranger Things” and HBO’s “Watchmen.”
Groups may request fun additions to their tours, such as visits from Black Panther, Captain America and other characters, or even tours led by actors like Khary Payton and Cooper Andrews, both veterans of “The Walking Dead.”
“Just give us a wish list,” said Atlanta Movie Tours CEO Carrie Burns, “and we’ll try and make it happen. We’ll do anything.”
While Henry County doesn’t currently offer guided general location tours, its tourism website does have an interactive digital map that can usher groups to spots where movies like “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Black Panther” and the beloved classics “Vacation” and “Smokey and the Bandit” were filmed. Included is the charming, old-timey Miller’s Store, where “We Are Marshall” was filmed. Fans of the movie will recognize it as the place where Matthew Fox’s character learns of the tragic plane crash that sets the story in motion.
According to Laura Luker, Henry County director of tourism, groups will also want to visit Shane’s Rib Shack, which can be spotted in Clint Eastwood’s acclaimed film “The Mule.”
“They actually stopped there, at the original one,” she said. “You can see the sign in the background in the scene when he’s loading his truck. Some of our local people that work there were used as extras.”
After sampling some of Shane’s celebrated barbecue, groups should head to Hampton, where the hourlong Walkin’ Dead Hampton Tour visits 14 stops seen in season six of the horror series. Guides share personal stories and photos of the shoots, and group members can take turns lying in the spot where the legendary dumpster scene with Glenn was filmed.
Lovely Savannah has hosted shoots for more than its fair share of iconic movies, and more adventurous group members can visit the locations with Savannah Segway Tours. Among the stops is Chippewa Square, where Forrest Gump once sat on a bench, sharing his box of chocolates. Six Pence Pub, home to the fiery scene in “Something To Talk About” when Julia Roberts’ character discovers her husband’s infidelity, is also included in the tour.
Of course, no movie fan would want to miss touring the Mercer Williams House Museum. As famously detailed in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” it’s believed that the home’s owner, Jim Williams, shot his lover there.
Outside town, the Civil War movie “Glory” was filmed at Fort Pulaski National Monument, a great stop for groups.
“They have reenactments, with soldiers dressed in period uniforms,” said Visit Savannah senior vice president Jeff Hewitt, “and a number of interactive learning sessions. So you don’t just look at the fort, you experience it.”
Tybee Island, worth a visit if just for its beauty, has been seen in such wide-ranging films as “The Last Song,” “Baywatch” and “The Peanut Butter Falcon.” But if groups would like a walking tour or step-on guide service around the city, Noble Jones Tours can provide highly customized experiences themed around movie and television locations.
Groups that are fans of “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “Sweet Home Alabama” would do well to book Sheri Brown, proprietor of the Southern Holly Film Tour, as a step-on guide. Based in Peachtree City, the tour visits locations of the Reese Witherspoon comedy like Starr’s Mill, which doubled as the glass shop owned by Josh Lucas’ character. The waterfall at the historic site was featured in “Fried Green Tomatoes.” Speaking of that classic, Brown also escorts guests to the home where Idgie Threadgoode, played by Mary Stuart Masterson, lived.
“I also go down to Haralson because there are several movies and shows that were made there,” Brown said. “The third season of ‘The Walking Dead’ is one of them — I explain some things about it and show some pictures. The main street was also used prominently in ‘Lawless,’ with Shia LaBeouf and Jessica Chastain. And Oprah’s ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ was filmed in that area.”
Raleigh Studios, where “The Walking Dead” is shot, isn’t far from Peachtree City, and when the series isn’t shooting there, visitors can take the Walking Dead Studio Tour. It goes behind the scenes to the sets like the Sanctuary — Negan’s lair — and the Heaps, Jadis’ junkyard.
Douglas County has been featured in more than 700 film and television productions, and groups can visit the locations of the biggest and best with the Douglas County Film Trail. The county’s interactive, digital map takes visitors to 11 sites and includes handy information organized by film and television locations and movie stars. Or groups can book a special step-on guide through Explore Douglas County. Chances are they’ll get tourism director Collin Cash, who can tell tales of hanging out with actor Jason Bateman. The actor filmed some of his series “Ozark” and “The Outsider” at the Old Jail.
Groups can also look for markers at eight spots, like Douglasville’s Old Courthouse and City Museum, where the series “Scream” and “Stranger Things” were filmed. Fans of the latter show will recognize much of the area, according to Cash.
“The Old Courthouse was used by ‘Stranger Things’ for their police station,” he said. “Tiffany’s Kitchen was Benny’s Burgers in the first episode, and the Palace Arcade was filmed at the old laundromat.”
The new version of the old television favorite “MacGyver” is in Douglas County “filming all the time,” according to Cash. The tour also features stops at Arbor Place Mall — a location for “Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son” — and Foxhall Resort, where “Table 19,” with Anna Kendrick, was filmed.