Courtesy Wilmington and Beaches
WILMINGTON, N.C. — There’s a reason Wilmington, N.C., calls itself Hollywood East. In the past 30 years, the area has earned more than 400 film-related credits, and recently, its reputation has been elevated by a flurry of top movies and television shows that have been filmed in the coastal city.
This year, three No. 1 box office hits were filmed in the area: “The Conjuring,” “Iron Man 3” and “Safe Haven.” Several hit television series, including “Under the Dome,” “Revolution” and the new series “Sleepy Hollow,” are filmed in and around Wilmington.
The Wilmington Convention Center, in the historic downtown on the Cape Fear River, often has a supporting role. For example, “We’re the Millers,” an R-rated comedy that stars Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis, was used as a site for several scenes when that movie was filmed in Wilmington last year.
Scenes from “Safe Haven,” which stars Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel, were also filmed at the center last year. A national television commercial for Planters was shot on the center’s riverfront lawn. Production companies have also used its 500-plus-space parking garage for filming, as a stage or simply for parking for crews.
One scene in which the convention center won’t appear is in “Iron Man 3,” which shows passengers falling from Air Force One over the Cape Fear River. The convention center was visible in the original shoot, but was removed through digital technology because there were to be no buildings in the scene.
Meeting groups can include the movie-making industry in their itineraries. Almost every land and boat tour offered in the city points out locations used for productions shot there.
Among the tours is a new 90-minute Hollywood tour offered by Cape Fear Segway, a 90-minute Hollywood location walk led by a director and self-guided tours of sites used in One Tree Hill at Airlie Gardens.