'Iron Man 3' production to be filmed in Wilmington

Published: Oct. 27, 2011 at 4:18 PM EDT|Updated: May. 24, 2012 at 10:47 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Governor Beverly Perdue was in Wilmington Thursday to make an economic development announcement. Iron Man 3 will officially be filmed at EUE/Screen Gems in Wilmington for the majority of the production.

The film, starring Robert Downey Jr., is expected to attract other stars like Scarlett Johansson and Don Cheadle, according to industry reports.

"We aggressively pursued this piece of business," said EUE/Screen Gems Co-Owner and COO Chris Cooney. "We negotiated hard, and it paid off."

Cooney said people thought they were crazy to build one of the largest sound stages in the world during a down economy.

"We constructed that space envisioning a motion picture of the caliber and size of this one," explained Cooney.  "This film is a game changer – not only for our studios, but for the entire state of North Carolina."

According to EUE Screen Gems Executive Vice President Bill Vassar, the Marvel executives were enticed to Wilmington by the 25 percent NC film incentive; the size, scope and capabilities of the Wilmington studio lot; and the seasoned local crew base.

"We are as close to a Los Angeles studio as you can get without being in California," said Vassar.  "We offer Marvel what they need, and they were amazed to find it in North Carolina."

Vassar said Marvel choose Wilmington to produce Iron Man 3 because the area has a large local crew with experience handling five productions simultaneously.

"This is a special group of people who learned their craft at the knee of their fathers and mothers," explained Vassar.  "You don't see this outside of Los Angeles or New York City."

Vassar assured that the production of Iron Man 3 will not preclude the booking of other simultaneous projects despite it being the largest production to come to Wilmington.

"We will still have stages, offices and production support available to host pilots, series and other films right now," said Vassar.

The motion picture will take offices in Wilmington in early 2012.

U.S. Senator Kay R. Hagan applauded news that Marvel Studios' Iron Man 3 film will film in Wilmington, NC.  She provided the following statement:

I am focused like a laser on creating jobs in North Carolina, and I am so pleased that Iron Man 3 will soon begin shooting in Wilmington," said Hagan. "When studios choose to produce their films in North Carolina it means jobs in our state – both jobs related to filming and jobs for the restaurants, hotels, and small businesses in the community. This important decision by Marvel Studios is further evidence of the rich resources North Carolina has to offer America's film industry – resources in people, locations and expertise.  This film will have an economic impact of $80 million in North Carolina and create hundreds of jobs. Iron Man 3 will be just the newest example of 'Made in North Carolina' quality.

N.C. Senator Thom Goolsby (R-New Hanover) responded Thursday to the news that a historically-large movie project – "Iron Man 3" – will be filmed in Wilmington with the following statement:

There is no better place for this project than Wilmington, and for months I've worked with colleagues in the North Carolina Senate and the executive branch to bring it here," Goolsby said. "I'm thrilled to see the film incentives we approved in the state budget – the budget Gov. Perdue vetoed – being used to create new jobs and boost our local economy. This is an exciting day for North Carolina.

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