"The Good Lie", a film starring Reese Witherspoon currently filming in Georgia, will soon head to South Africa where filming will continue. "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" filmed in Atlanta and was also shot in Turkey, India and New York.
Even more rarely, entire foreign films are produced here. "Papa", a Korean comedy about how a manager of a band of singing siblings becomes its faux father to enable them to stay in the U.S., was filmed entirely on location in Atlanta last year.
These are possible in part because the tax credit can help companies keep costs down, along with the fact that a "deep crew base" can keep companies from having to bring in their own staff, saving on travel costs. Georgia also has ample backdrops for a wide variety of films.
"You can pretty much shoot everything here unless it's a desert or a glacier," Ms. Thomas said. "It's kind of the whole package."
But Pinewood Atlanta, which is to have five sound stages in phase one, is a watershed moment because it broadens the pool of available studio space.
When studios moves into a location, it generally sees a "creative cluster" develop as related companies set up shop nearby, Mr. Smith said. More than 250 independent companies are based at Pinewood's media park outside London.
Already, reports indicate that more than 70 companies have inquired with Fayette County about the prospect of relocating, one factor behind a Georgia Institute of Technology report that calculated the studio's spillover could lead to 3,400 jobs for the area when all is said and done.
Matt Forshee, president and CEO of the Fayette County Development Authority, said the lion's share of the economic impact won't come from Pinewood itself, but from the vendors who set up there to rent lights, cameras, costumes and other items to production companies. Winning a film with a budget of $150 million could mean tens of millions of dollars spent locally.
"It's almost like a new manufacturing facility coming to town every six months," he said, noting that Pinewood is planning the studio as a "turn-key" facility to help film producers streamline costs.
Across the state, Georgia itself is becoming somewhat of a cluster. Medient Studios, which is based in Hollywood but has its origins and significant operations in southwest India, recently announced plans to build a $90 million studio and game-production base outside Savannah, creating 1,000 jobs all told.
Construction has already begun on the Pinewood complex.