When sci-fi fans think of Atlanta, the first thing that comes to mind might be the annual “nerd Mardi Gras” known as Dragon Con. What many may not know is that a lot of their favorite TV shows and films have been shot right there in the Georgia capital.
The Walking Dead is probably the most well-known of these projects, as much of that popular show is filmed in nearby Senoia, Georgia. And some of the most popular geeky franchises have joined the walkers in recent years.
Fantripping recently spoke with Carrie Burns, the CEO of Atlanta Movie Tours, which offers fans the chance to check out some of the most famous locations from their favorite movies and TV.
“I remember going back a few years ago, there were always about 24 productions filming in Atlanta; we’re at 43 now,” Burns said, chief among those being Avengers: Infinity War, Godzilla: King of Monsters, and TV series like MacGyver and Halt and Catch Fire.
Fourteen studios are now located in the Atlanta metro area, the biggest being Pinewood Studios, similar to the famous English studio of the same name that’s been home to the James Bond franchise and the Christopher Reeve Superman films. Others include Atlanta Filmworks Studios, Tyler Perry Studios, Blackhall Studios. And still more facilities are being constructed.
A Georgia state tax credit is a big reason why so many productions have moved there, and actors and producers have taken to what the state has to offer in recent years (the low cost of living and great food, for starters).
“We offer everything from cities, to mountains, to the coast, so they can basically replicate anything,” Burns said.
Due to this explosion in production, Burns and her business partner Anna Caraballo decided to start giving tours, originally for The Walking Dead, which remains the most popular show or movie for fan tours.
“Our first tour was the Zombie Tour” in 2012, Burns explained. “We now have four different tours based on The Walking Dead’.”
These include two bus tours in Senoia, one walking tour, and one in Atlanta. And Walker fans will soon be able to see as many locations as they want in one day (it currently takes two days to take all the tours).
“So many of the locations are pretty iconic, even going back to the first season when Merle was handcuffed to the top of the building,” said Burns.
Extras from the show often join or lead the tours, in order to give more behind-the-scenes insight. Former Walking Dead star IronE Singleton has also joined the tour, and some lucky fans even ran into Norman Reedus on one. (The tour company cooperates with, and doesn’t intrude on shows and films on location while they’re actively in production.)
But if zombies aren’t your thing, and you’re more of a superhero fan, you’re in luck, as many recent Marvel Studios productions (like the aforementioned third Avengers) have been shot in Atlanta, as well. And one of the best known Marvel landmarks is hiding in plain sight.
“There’s the Porsche Test Track near the airport -- that’s the Avengers headquarters, minus the giant A,” Burns pointed out.
The location of the Georgia Archives building is also where Ant-Man’s Pym Technologies once stood. Life imitated art back in March when the building was imploded, to be replaced by a new judicial center.
There’s also something for Katniss fans, as quite a few locations from The Hunger Games movies are seen on the same “Hero Tour” as the Marvel locations. That includes Dragon Con’s Marriott Marquis, which is also seen in the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer, plus classic film locations like where a major scene from Robocop 3 was shot.
The most recent popular series shot in Atlanta is Stranger Things, and fans can see some locations from that show’s first season on one of the tours, too, such as the hospital seen in the finale. (Many more locations, including one near the tour’s offices, will be added once the show's second season debuts on Halloween.)
With so much being filmed in Atlanta, fans will soon be able to check out even more locations within the next year; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Black Panther chief among them.
Rates for the tours vary from $20 per adult ticket on up, with the option of purchasing lunch for $15 on certain excursions.