‘42’ film production generated up to $2 million for Macon-Bibb economy

The filming of scenes for the Jackie Robinson biopic “42” pumped a massive amount of money into the Macon and Bibb County economy.

During its 18 days in Macon and Bibb County earlier this month, the movie’s cast and crew spent between $1.4 million and $2 million, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

More than 1,000 extras were part of the filming, about 500 of whom were from the Atlanta area, according to the release. In addition, 300 to 400 crew members came to Macon and spent money on hotels, food and entertainment while filming.

Matt Newton, assistant manager at The Rookery, said the downtown eatery got a boost in business from the filming.

“We got a lot of the people who were sightseeing and trying to catch a glimpse of the movie filming in for lunch,” he said.

The Rookery usually draws a large crowd for lunch and dinner, but Newton said there was a marked increase in the number of diners during the week that “42” was filming scenes downtown.

Newton also said the restaurant attracted film crew members, and several of them were regulars of the restaurant during their time in the city.

Elliott Dunwody, chairman of the Macon Film Commission, said the organization will be working to bring more films to Macon.

Dunwody said the allure of stars like Harrison Ford is hard to deny, but it’s the crew members who make a real economic impact on the city.

“Those are the people we cater to because they’re the ones who really spend money,” he said.

He said the film commission provides information about Macon to visiting movie crews to help them decide where to eat, where to stay and what to do for fun.

Macon Mayor Robert Reichert said in the film commission’s news release that excitement about the filming was evident, as people came into Macon just to see scenes being shot.

“Our reputation as a city that is willing to work with film companies appears to be spreading, and I am thankful for the welcoming reception our community and businesses provided them,” Reichert said.

Tabitha Lynne Walker, a member of the Macon Film Commission, thanked the city, county, residents and business owners who “enthusiastically supported this project that generated a large amount of revenue for our community in a short period of time.”

To contact writer Liz Bibb, call 744-4425.