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.