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Monday November 29th

Iron Man 3 to film in Wilmington, boost NC film industry

Wilmington’s production facilities have attracted yet another blockbuster film to North Carolina — “Iron Man 3.”

The city will be the official home of production for the film, which will be the largest production ever to shoot in North Carolina.

Other movies filmed in North Carolina:
  • Firestarter (1983)
  • Blue Velvet (1985)
  • Weekend at Bernie’s (1988)
  • The Crow (1993)
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
  • Muppets in Space (1998)
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2001)
  • Nights in Rodanthe (2007)
  • The Secret Life of Bees (2008)
  • The Hunger Games (2012)

Local film professionals and tourism officials say the state’s active role in the film industry in recent years has contributed to a significant boost in economic development and tourism.

And with another large-scale production on the horizon, those benefits will likely increase.

Wilmington houses EUE/Screen Gems Studios, the largest production facility outside of California.

The facility has been a key factor in bringing movies like “Iron Man 3” to North Carolina, Gov. Bev Perdue said in a press release.

The film, which will be made during a 10-month period, is expected to start pre-production soon, according to the release.

“My top priority is creating jobs, and this film production will mean high-quality, well-paying jobs for North Carolinians,” she said.

The entire production process will have an estimated economic impact of at least $80 million and will create 550 crew jobs and more than 1,000 talent opportunities.

Johnny Griffin, director of the Wilmington Regional Film Commission, said North Carolina is a popular filming location because it offers economic incentives to agencies that many other states don’t, including a 25 percent tax credit on production expenses.

“The incentive that we have is very crucial right now in recruiting production,” said Griffin, whose agency has been actively involved in the recruiting process for “Iron Man 3.”

Wit Tuttell, director of tourism marketing for the N.C. Department of Commerce, said film is a driving force behind economic growth and tourism in the state.

“The Hunger Games,” to be released in 2012, was recently filmed in Charlotte, Asheville, Shelby and Wilmington, N.C.

Tuttell said this film’s production has generated more than $60 million in revenue for the state and created more than 4,500 jobs.

“If the film really captures a fan base, we may be having visitors come to those sites 20 years from now to see where that ‘classic’ was shot,” he said.

Tuttell said landmarks where past productions were filmed still attract tourists each year.

“People still go to Chimney Rock Park to see the area that was featured at the end of ‘The Last of the Mohicans,’” he said.

Tuttell said Lake Lure, where parts of “Dirty Dancing” were filmed in the 1980s, also attracts tourists.

“Lake Lure each year hosts a Dirty Dancing Festival that draws visitors from all over the nation and even from Europe,” Tuttell said.

Cole Hammack, a UNC senior communication studies major, was cast as an extra in “Iron Man 2” after working with a casting agency in Los Angeles.

Griffin said “Iron Man 3” will help the state attract future productions.

“To be able to show Hollywood that we can do blockbuster films of this size will speak volumes to other companies considering those same kinds of productions.”

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