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Leaders hope 'Journey 2' will give second life to Hollywood East

READ MORE: Leaders hope 'Journey 2' will give second life to Hollywood East

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- It's been more than a year since Screen Gems Studio's Dream Stage opened, And it's finally getting some work. A day after the Governor's office made a big announcement about a movie filming here in the Port City, we get details of the project from the local film commission.

The Cape Fear has long prided itself for being know as Hollywood East, but the past couple of years it seemed like we couldn't get anyone to film here.

"It was disheartening to lose two Nicholas Sparks films that were probably going to be filmed here 'cause of incentive policy at the time," Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said. "But everyone has been working hard and for the last 24 months, really working hard, to try and save this industry not only for Wilmington but the entire state of North Carolina."

Saffo can easily smile now that the sequel to "Journey to the Center of the Earth" will shoot right here in the Cape Fear.

Wilmington Regional Film Commission director Johnny Griffin said Wilmington had a lot to offer, like a local crew, facilities, locations, weather and, yes, "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" will use the water tank at Screen Gems for the first time ever.

"Their decision to come to Wilmington is based on several things," Griffin said. "The tank is playing very prominently in this. They have some work that needs to be done in a water tank controlled environment, so the new Stage 10 that Screen Gems has built is a key factor in that."

The film will use five of the ten stages at Screen Gems. The TV series "One Tree Hill" is using three of the other stages. With the studio almost at capacity, local leaders are hopeful "Journey 2" will spark the rebirth of Hollywood East.

"To have this lot almost now full is a testament that the film industry is alive and well here in Wilmington," Saffo said.

"Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" will start production later this month in Wilmington. The movie stars Dwayne Johnson and Oscar-winner Michael Caine.

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Johnny Griffin/ABC Willians Pay

According to the artical in the Star News today, Johnny G. makes $94,971.00 a year plus (other comp. at $16,095.00) Other Comp. ??? The film comission recieved app. $340,464.00 as a nonprofit. So he pockets a third. Not bad for a good old boy. Did he work for the local ABC. Its your money/NOT.

Good but not Great

As happy as I am that this film is coming to film in Wilmington. I can't help but feel this is a publicity stunt to avoid backlash from the local film community. The article today in the paper was very misleading... It stated that the production would be "In Production" for five months... this isn't entirely true. The production is in pre-production until January which only employs few, and small business really doesn't see an impact until the cameras actually are rolling. This doesn't occur until January, and they are filming for four weeks... so to say the production is here for five months is misleading.

Also I have heard that a lot of the crew positions are going to be Los Angeles Crew... I guess since they are in Hawaii filming now, and want to keep a consistent crew during production... So this is good for a few namely the studio, but not for the out of work crew, and small business that will only reap the benefit of four weeks...

I know many will say I should be happy that we have something going on... well I hold myself , and the NC film Community to a higher standard... I want to get to the point were the Governor isn't making speeches about films coming in... we should be rolling them in and out...

I'm excited for the film business "Journey 2" will bring, but we need much more...

Plenty of money spent in pre-production

Having just been hired by this production, I would like to inform you that there will be plenty of money spent at lumber yards, paint and hardware stores in the pre-production phase as we construct, paint, and plaster the sets on five stages. Additionally, there will be rigging grips and gaffers lighting the sets, set dressers and greenspeople dressing them. We'll have drivers, art department personnel, production office workers very busy spending money locally on craft services, signs, graphics, etc. There will be numerous special effect technicians involved in preparing the tank on stage 10. Since there are SOME key department heads that will be brought in from elsewhere, they will be driving rental vehicles, staying in local hotels, eating in local restaurants and spending money in local shops.

Most of the work is done in pre-production, and will be on-going when the main shooting crew starts in January. Please don't discount our LOCAL film technicians and crew, who are very happy to be working on this project and anticipate it to turn around our slumping industry.

Fear not, there is a union

Fear not, there is a union delegate now on the Wilmington Film Commission. Unfortunately the "commission's" website doesn't list members or provide contact information. About all we know is that Johnny G has an office on studio property and earns $120 large paid for by the taxpayers. I'm certain that this fine commission will look out for the members of the local filmmaking community.