100 Years of Mass-Movies

As the only SAG franchised agency in New England, we are proud to work with some of Hollywood’s top movie producers and casting directors. Successfully placing our actors in major feature films is something we love to do and contributing to the ever growing success of the Massachusetts movie industry makes it even more special. For this BLOG I thought it would be interesting to look at how the silver screen has developed over the past 100 years, and think about the direction it’s going in.

The movie industry in Massachusetts has been steadily growing since the late 1960’s. This was a time when film making in the US started to shoot less in Hollywood and more ‘on location.’ The ‘60’s boom boasted 9 great movies for the Bay State including The Thomas Crown Affair with Steve McQueen and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf with Elizabeth Taylor.

Prior to this, Massachusetts had only produced 10 movies in its entire 50 years of film making (1910-1960). Vanity Fair was the first of two silent movies shot in the 1910’s, no movies filmed here in the 1920’s, – the 30’s & 40’s both had 2 (which is surprising considering movies were now in full sound) and the 50’s saw only a slight improvement with 4 movies.

The success of the ‘60’s attracted more Hollywood executives to take note of the untamed coastline and diverse filming locations in New England. Before anyone could say “Lights, Camera, Action” the 1970’s saw 21 movies made here. Most notably was the arrival of Steven Spielberg’s oversized shark in JAWS (1975); a hit so popular that the sequel was released only a few years later in ‘78. I’m not sure the residents of Martha’s Vineyard have stepped back in the water since.

In the 1980’s Cheers made Boston famous on television, whereas Hollywood introduced us to Kevin’s Field of Dreams, Jack’s Witches of Eastwick and yet another very large shark off the Nantucket Sound. Overall there were 54 movies filmed during this decade – over double the amount filmed in the 70’s. It was clear that Massachusetts was now a Hollywood hotspot.

The movie making factory continued in the 1990’s with a record 86 films. The development of DVD’s in the late ‘90’s surely helped push this demand. Some of the blockbusters include; The Crucible, The Boondock Saints, Hocus Pocus, Good Will Hunting and The Cider House Rules.

In the past 10 years however, we have noticed a slight slip in the numbers. With only 80 movies produced we were only 7 short of beating our record. None-the-less we had some great success stories: The Perfect Storm was a huge project – and a great success for the residents of Rockport, MA. Legally Blonde set at Harvard Law School is played constantly on TV and later became a hit Broadway musical. We saw a lot of activity when Shutter Island, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, The Invention of Lying, Bride Wars, ‘21’ and The Proposal came to town – all in reasonably close succession.

The Departed was a huge success for Boston and featured an array of local home-grown talent. It no doubt inspired Ben Affleck to create The Town – which he proudly filmed in some of Boston’s most famous landmarks and used real people (non-actors) in principle roles. We are also excited to see the release of The Company Men and The Fighter (which premiers in just a few weeks time) and hope this standard of filmmaking continues, with or without the construction of Plymouth Rock Studios. For more information on the Company Men and The Fighter, see Nikki’s previous BLOG about two of Model Club’s hot new stars who performed along side Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg.

People ask me every day about the movie industry in Massachsuetts and many have noticed how quiet it has been recently. I agree, it has been quiet – however I predict that the recession slump will soon change pace and we’ll head into the next Ten years on course to make a record amount of movies. The Boston Globe rumours that Katherine Heigl is set to film The Age of Adeline in Spring 2011 and Boston.com suggests that Brad Pitt has been scouting Fenway Park for his latest venture. . . Moneyball! Let’s hope 2011 is a successful year for Mass movies and of course all our actors, crew and even…agents ;)




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