If you’re a fan of the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence buddy films Bad Boys, you’ve probably memorized their witty banter and held your breath during every high-speed chase. But did you know their latest film Bad Boys For Life which opened in January was shot in Clayton County?
The Venue, a nightclub on Frontage Road in Forest Park, doubled as a trendy Miami nightclub in the latest Bad Boys film.
The popular 2015 action flick Fast and Furious 7 was also filmed in Forest Park. The film’s gritty warehouse scenes took place at the former Fort Gillem Army base. And the location of the diner scene where the stars of the 2017 movie Baby Driver meet? You guessed it. It also was shot in the Clayton County town.
Even comedy genius Eddie Murphy ventured to Clayton last year to make his long-anticipated followup Coming To America 2, due out in theaters nationwide in August.
Hollywood increasingly is turning to Clayton County Tourism and Film for a variety of film and television production needs.
In fact, Clayton turned its best performance last year in its decade-long film-making pursuits.
“We had the most successful year in filming in 2019 in terms of production days and location fees and revenue,” said Tamara Patridge, executive director of Clayton County Tourism and Film.
Some 52 film and television productions were shot in Clayton in 2019, bringing the total number of productions that have filmed in Clayton to more than 200 during the last decade. Clayton’s top five film venues grossed a record $705,708 in location fees last year, Patridge said. More importantly, those five venues had an economic impact of more than $1.3 million in the county.
Last year, Clayton saw more work with premium cable/satellite and streaming production such as HBO and Netflix, Patridge noted.
Television projects leave a larger, more indelible footprint in a community, with multiple episodes and, in most cases, more than one season of filming, Patridge noted. Clayton’s television clients included HBO as well as streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Video.
Various productions spent a total of 405 days in Clayton last year, Patridge said.
Clayton County Figures Prominently in Film and TV
Clayton figures prominently in the film and television production business in Georgia, which is among the top filming locations in the world. The Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office reported $2.8 billion in direct spending from film and TV production in the state in 2019.
Getting an exact figure on Clayton’s portion of the state’s overall film and television production business is difficult because the state does not breakdown the economic impact on the county level, Patridge said.
“We have had a lot of repeat business in Clayton which is an indication we’re probably doing a good job,” Patridge said.
When it’s not courting its own productions, Clayton County Tourism and Film has lent a hand to other movie production facilities. And other big-name studios have turned to Clayton.
Southlake Mall has figured prominently in scenes in the Emmy award-winning television series Atlanta, starring Donald Glover.
International filmmaker Pinewood Studios – producer of the James Bond and Ant Man movie franchises – has a massive complex with five sound stages in Fayette County. But the British filmmaker has tapped Clayton on occasion to handle some of its production. In fact, the county’s most noteworthy projects last year came from Pinewood: Marvel Comics’ Venom and Avengers: Infinity Wars.
“You can’t film everything in a studio environment and the transportation costs of driving into the city of Atlanta can get pretty expensive,” Patridge said. “So Clayton is often a desirable alternative to driving into the city.”
Television often has a deeper impact on a community because a TV show has multiple episodes. TV production crews tend to spend more time and money in the community.
“We’re seeing a lot more activity from Netflix and other streaming services,” Patridge said. “Eighty percent of the production activity we’re currently seeing is from Netflix.”
Parts of “Raising Dion,” a Netflix series release last year, was shot in Clayton, Patridge said.
Clayton County’s Top 5 Film Venues
- Southern Regional Medical Center
- City of Forest Park, city-owned properties
- City of Morrow, city-owned properties
- Clayton County, government-owned properties
- Georgia Archives
Atlanta will always be a lure for Hollywood but Clayton’s ability to be rural, suburban, historic and futuristic has become very attractive to film and television producers. And where else in metro Atlanta can you find a ready-made beach?
Bad Boys For Life already has grossed more than $100 million in its first month, making it the highest-grossing January theatrical release of all time, according to industry reports. Similarly, Venom, a sci-fi thriller that opened October 2018, had the largest October opening in movie history. Parts of that film were shot in Clayton’s Historic Rex Village.
“Everyone has banded together and done a phenomenal job in keeping the film industry coming back to Clayton,” Patridge said. “If we didn’t have a film-friendly community and film-friendly business owners, they wouldn’t come back.”
Source: Clayton County Tourism and Film