In 2017, the state of Georgia became the number one filming location in the entire world. Over 100 feature-length motion pictures that were filmed there were released in theaters in 2016. I'm sure we can all remember the days when our state held that distinction. Once the golden child of film studios (dubbed "Hollywood South"), Louisiana fell to a fifth-place tie with New York in a classic case of state lawmakers not knowing what they had until it was gone. As an avid moviegoer who always stays in his seat until the last credit rolls, I was once amazed at the number of movies that were filmed in our great state, which could seemingly double for almost anywhere. Unfortunately, that fleur-de-lis-laden Louisiana Entertainment logo has long given way to that ultra-recognizable peach that represents Georgia Entertainment Industries, and each time I see it, I think of how it should've been us.
Still, with the implementation of the state's annual $180 million fiscal cap on film tax incentives in 2015, Louisiana has been the location of choice for several major productions, mostly in the past year. In 2017, box office hits such as Logan, Girls Trip, Baby Driver, and Bad Moms proved that Louisiana Entertainment wasn't dead after all, but rather reeling. With this cap renewed one year before it was set to expire (2018), we can look forward to seeing that Georgia peach (well, those of us who stay for the credits, anyway) more and more, well into 2025 when the law once again comes up for renewal. Fortunately, $180 million and fifth place is better than nothing, and between the two states, film studios aren't exactly beating down the doors of Mississippi's and Alabama's film offices. In fact, here are several major productions that have recently announced their intentions to honor the state of Louisiana with their film crews and revenue for 2018-2019 release dates:
Out of Blue—Patricia Clarkson and James Caan star in this crime thriller about the murder of a leading astrophysicist, currently in post-production. Carol Morley directs.
A Violent Separation—Brenton Thwaites (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) and Alycia Debnam-Carey (Fear the Walking Dead) are featured in this drama about the uncovering of a secret that will present repercussions on three generations of a family. Directed by Kevin and Michael Goetz (Scenic Route), the film is currently in post-production.
Green Book—Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali and two-time Oscar nominee Viggo Mortensen star as an African American classical pianist and his tough, Italian-American driver, set in the civil-rights era South. Directed by Peter Farrelly (Dumb and Dumber, Shallow Hal), the production wraps on January 26, so we should hear more about this as the new year progresses.
Eli—The first offering under the banner of Paramount's new film division Paramount Players, Eli is a psychological horror film about the illness and subsequent seclusion of a young boy, played by Charlie Shotwell (Captain Fantastic, The Glass Castle). Ciarán Foy (Sinister 2) is tapped to direct the film, with production set to begin on January 29.
Semper Fi—Here's one we snagged from Vancouver: Sam Claflin (Me Before You) and Nat Wolff (Paper Towns) star in a crime thriller about a bond between brothers that is stronger than prison walls. Henry Alex Rubin (Disconnect, Murderball) directs from his own script. Currently in pre-production for a February shoot.
Gambit—Technically, Forevermore is the working title for this long-awaited Fox/Marvel movie based on the mutant Gambit (Channing Tatum) from the X-Men comics. BTW, it's only natural that this will be filmed in Louisiana as Gambit's real name is Remy Etienne LeBeau and he hails from (where else?) New Orleans! Co-starring Lizzy Caplan and directed by none other than Gore Verbinski (the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy), filming begins in March.
Not a bad lineup for our state's entertainment industry that everyone thought was left for dead! Add to these the television shows that continue to film here: Preacher season 3, NCIS: New Orleans season 4, The Originals season 5, and an upcoming Marvel adaptation, Cloak & Dagger, airing on Freeform in 2018. Hmmm … it seems as if we're not doing so bad after all. I suspect that incessant Georgia peach may be a little easier to sit through now that I know I'll be seeing that beautiful fleur-de-lis up there on the big screen periodically throughout the next two years.