'Safe Haven' debuts to packed house in Southport
 

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) -- Southport has had its fair share of movies shot within its city limits, but tonight residents of the area were treated to a special viewing of what could be its biggest blockbuster yet.

Brunswick County residents packed into Surf Cinema in Southport for a debut unlike any other.

Alex Gale and his fiancée Savannah Reaves were extras in "Safe Haven," and say you better get your popcorn ready.

"It's a community that's all involved with the movie," Gale said. "Everyone from the crew to local restaurants to the local government has all helped this movie become what it is."

What sets "Safe Haven" apart from other movies is that it is almost entirely set in southeastern North Carolina.

The movie is set around a girl named Katie, who escapes an abusive situation in Boston and finds a safe haven in the not-so-fictional town of Southport.

Many of the town's residents and its popular locals are featured in the movie, along with Orton Plantation.

"For it to feature the town so prominently and use its name not just like 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' and use just the scenes, but put Southport on the map as a Nicholas Sparks movie, it's unreal," Gale said.

"I think it's cool to see, because Southport is such a beautiful place, and sometimes people just kind of pass by it as like a little small town, but it's so pretty and has a lot to offer," Reaves said.

With its sinister back story, "Safe Haven" is not your typical Sparks flick, but that kept moviegoers on the edge of their seats.

The ending of the movie is different from that of the book, but if you're looking for a spoiler alert Reaves says, "You have to see the movie."

"Safe Haven" hits theaters nationwide Thursday, just in time for Valentine's Day.

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