The plots have shifted to bleak and gory thrillers from angsty, hyper-sexual teenage dramas. Settings are post-apocalyptic industrial sites rather than sunset-lit marsh grass. And the fictional societies are more dystopian and divided than earnest and hopeful.
They’re hardly qualities on which to hang tourism hopes, but the lure of locally filmed movies and TV shows often can be transcendent.
Although Hollywood is a valuable travel agent, there’s no one method to capitalize on it, state and local tourism officials say.
Marketing some locally filmed productions can be difficult, thanks to inaccessible locations – think NBC’s “Revolution” – or spoiler-phobic filmmakers – like Marvel Studios, the company behind “Iron Man 3.”
Not to mention, a series may be axed after two episodes or a movie could be a box-office bomb.
Southport, NC-filmed “Safe Haven” has “definitely” boosted attendance at the city’s Visitor Center since it filmed in the coastal community in 2012, said Southport’s tourism director, Cindy Brochure.
A “Safe Haven”-themed display at the visitor center has helped attract more than 1,400 visitors in February, a month in which tourists are typically scarce, she said.
“Last Saturday morning alone, we had 86 people come in. That’s unheard of in February,” Brochure said. “People are coming from all over – from New England, Ohio, Charlotte and Raleigh. Not everyone is coming to Southport for Safe Haven’ – that’s hard to keep track of – but they’ve been signing in in our guest book and they’re saying they enjoyed our display.”
Tourism agencies don’t yet have a strategy in place to trumpet the May 3 release of “Iron Man 3,” but local officials say they plan to partner with the state to promote the movie that filmed in the area for much of 2012.