Disney Pictures has made Atlanta its home base for its various Marvel Studios productions thanks to the lucrative tax incentives there, which is why James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is filming there right now.
Now though, the studio is threatening to boycott the location over a new bill that has passed in the Georgia legislature – the ‘Free Exercise Protection Act’. The new law permits faith-based groups and organizations in Georgia to discriminate based on sexuality, religious officials shall not be required to perform marriage ceremonies in violation of their legal right to free exercise of religion, and faith-based organisations are allowed to not hire or provide services to those who “violate such faith-based organisation’s sincerely held religious belief.”
A Disney representative says the studio has decided that it will no longer bring its big blockbusters there in a stand against this:
“Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law.”
Disney isn’t the only one. The NFL has already said it will boycott the state, the MPAA and Human Rights Campaign Fund have also strongly coming out against the law. AMC, whose productions such as “The Walking Dead” and “Halt & Catch Fire” shoot in Georgia too, have released a statement:
“As a company, AMC Networks believes that discrimination of any kind is reprehensible. We applaud Governor Deal’s leadership in resisting a previous version of this divisive legislation and urge him to reject the current version as well.”
The bill itself is currently sitting on the desk of Governor Nathan Deal awaiting signing into law sometime before May.
It’s not clear if “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” will pull out of production if the bill is signed, the film may be too far along for that possibility. It does mean future Marvel productions though could well move elsewhere including the two-part “Avengers: Infinity War” production.