‘42’ cast and crew have positive impact on Macon economy

The cast and crew of “42” packed up and left town Wednesday, but their presence could have long-term implications for Macon.

Alex Morrison, executive director of Macon Urban Development Authority, said the film’s presence in Macon could have an impact that lasts well beyond the time movie crews spent in the city.

“If the stars and the directors have a good experience here, that puts us higher on the list (for future films),” he said.

Traffic downtown increased during filming, with people coming out in hopes of a celebrity sighting. But Morrison said he thinks people might come to Macon hoping to catch a glimpse of the setting of the film after its release.

The film’s cast and crew stayed in hotels, ate at restaurants and visited local tourist attractions for two weeks, which had a measurable impact on Macon’s economy, Morrison said.

“Anytime you have an influx of folks from out of town ... it’s akin to tourism,” he said.

Countless water bottles and snacks were bought for extras who spent long days on set, and equipment was needed for the construction of various sets.

The filming had a particularly good impact on small businesses, but those who helped with filming probably received the biggest economic boost, Morrison said.

“Usually it’s the service workers who get the biggest impact,” he said.

He said some makeup artists and costume workers were hired locally, and the police officers who guarded the sets received compensation.

Morrison said the Georgia Film Office estimates that when films come to Georgia, their expenses average $107 per cast or crew member per day. Morrison said there were more than 200 people in town, including cast, crew, production managers and set designers.

No numbers are available yet for the amount spent in Macon during filming, but Morrison said he wouldn’t be surprised if they exceeded the film office’s estimate. The statewide estimate does not factor in services hired or money spent on entertainment.

Elliott Dunwody, chairman of the Macon Film Commission, said the film’s impact on Macon has been incredibly positive.

“This is a huge success story,” he said.

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