WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Screen Gem Studios is expanding, but not here. Instead, it's setting up shop in Atlanta. The new studio lot is going to be called Georgia Film and Television Center, but some people worry about what the new Screen Gems will mean for productions coming to Wilmington.
Screen Gems Vice President Bill Vassar does not seem to think Hollywood East will lose business when his studio opens a new facility in Georgia, which will be much smaller than the one here. North Carolina raised the film tax incentive to 25 percent to bring more projects to the Tar Heel State, and Vassar says it's working. In fact, he says there's not a major studio in California not looking at the Port City for some sort of production. They like coming here for the beaches and the studios.
But some people are still worried about Wilmington's film future, because Georgia has a higher tax incentive, at 30 percent.
"The incentive packages are different, and it's based on locations," Vassar said. "And it's not just incentives. We have the beach. Atlanta doesn't have the beach. Atlanta has an urban setting. Wilmington doesn't have an urban setting. You can't do a LA-based cop show in Wilmington. You can do it in Atlanta. So again this is about building the relationships with the studios in LA."
And if "One Tree Hill" isn't picked up for another season, we're going to need those relationships. Vassar says we could know as soon as tomorrow if "One Tree Hill" is going to continue for an eighth season.
The Screen Gems expansion will not be certain until Atlanta City Council votes on it next week and the mayor signs it, but things are looking good for the studio.
Vassar says there are two "mammoth" productions looking at Wilmington. In the next couple months, we'll know if we're going to get them.