Written by New Contact on Jul 20, 2015. Posted in Production News

Ant-Man films Georgia as San Francisco with base at Pinewood Atlanta Studios

Marvel’s new superhero film Ant-Man shot mostly on location in Georgia, doubling the state for San Francisco and using Pinewood Atlanta Studios as a base. The movie follows a thief who uses a technologically-advanced suit to shrink himself to the size of an ant.

Ant-Man was the first Marvel movie to be based in Atlanta and made the decision to shoot there primarily because of Georgia’s generous filming incentive.

The state offers a base filming incentive of 20%, but this can easily rise to 30% if a film displays the state’s peach logo somewhere in its credits.

Marvel filmed on six different sound stages at Pinewood Atlanta Studios – everything the facility offered at the time – and the production also built a small exterior back lot.

“The biggest challenge was making Atlanta look like San Francisco,” says Mike Fantasia, the film’s Supervising Location Manager: “You’ll notice that the scenes shot there are tight. All the wide shots were shot in San Francisco or had large amounts of visual effects work to place Atlanta locations in San Francisco.”

In addition to the stage work, the Georgia Archives Building offered the exterior views and interior lobby of Pym Technologies, the headquarters of scientist Hank Pym who creates the hero-shrinking suit.

“We completely changed the facade, added fountains and planter beds, removed and replaced trees, and added architectural details in the lobby,” Fantasia adds.

All the wide shots were shot in San Francisco or had large amounts of visual effects work to place Atlanta locations in San Francisco.

Mike Fantasia, Supervising Location Manager

Ant-Man spent nearly USD 110 million in Georgia over the course of its shoot, according to figures from the Governor’s Office, and bought more than 22,400 hotel room nights.

Marvel spent less than a week filming first-unit footage in San Francisco, and spent a little more time in the city capturing plate shots to be inserted later into Atlanta footage as visual effects.

Ant-Man was produced a year before California boosted its filming incentive programme. At the time there was no significant financial support available for big-budget productions in San Francisco.

“I suspect there will be many more films shot in California now that the incentives are being expanded,” Fantasia comments.

“Big-budget films will probably still shy away because of the cap of USD 100 million that is subject to the incentive. Most big-budget films won’t split their work, so they’ll continue to base out of areas with no caps on their incentive.

“I hope I’m proven wrong, but from my discussions with producers and studio production people, that seems to be the way it’s moving.”

Marvel is keeping Atlanta as one of its main production bases for the next couple of years. Captain America: Civil War started filming in May and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 will follow.

Warner Bros is producing its own superhero films based on DC’s comic book characters. Suicide Squad is the studio’s latest production and has followed Ontario’s filming incentives to Toronto.

(Images: Zade Rosenthal/Marvel Studios)

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