A friend of mine asked me, “Did you realize that more and more films are being shot in Vancouver?” And honestly, I didn’t. What I did notice was just some guys running up and down the streets of Vancouver from time to time, carrying filming equipment, microphones, and those huge, shiny aluminium boards that make actors’ faces look so nice in movies. Yet I hadn’t realized that these could be big productions from Hollywood or even Europe shooting future crowd-pleasers.
If you think about it, it’s only natural that filmmakers are migrating North of Hollywood. There are amazing exteriors they can use, and studios are willing to assist production. This doesn’t only apply to Vancouver; there are a lot of movies shot in Toronto and many other cities across the country as well. This article brings you a list of the most famous internationally known movies shot in Vancouver.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
This legendary X-Men series instalment was released on May 1st, 2009. Marvel did an amazing job on the comic level, but director Gavin Hood created something truly extraordinary. I’ve probably made all comics fans really angry right now, but this film is incomparable to the comics. The feeling that you get when watching it is as if you were actually inside Wolverine’s head. Hugh Jackman did a great job as the title character. This film is very different from the others, since it is the first one that allowed us to look into the past of one of the mutants. Also, actors like Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Will.i.am, Lynn Collins, Dominic Monaghan, Taylor Kitsch, Daniel Henney, Kevin Durand, and Ryan Reynolds all did a wonderful job.
Apart from the scenes shot in Australia and New Zealand, some scenes were also shot in Vancouver. The shooting of the first scenes in Vancouver should have started much sooner, but due to unfavourable weather conditions, it began in January 2009. Most of the scenes were taken at the University of British Columbia and Lord Byron Secondary School.
There was a huge controversy connected to the release of the film when only one month before the official release date, an almost finished copy of the fim was leaked. Some people claim that it was a Canadian who leaked parts of the film on the Internet shortly before its release. The film was a great success despite the leak, and it grossed $179 million in the United States and Canada and over $373 million worldwide.
The Twilight Saga
The Twilight Saga is a series of supernatural romance fantasy films from Summit Entertainment based on the four Twilight series novels by the American author Stephenie Meyer.
The enormous success of the series awarded producers over $2 billion in worldwide receipts and counting to date. Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, and Robert Pattison really made their way up the fame ladder by starring in this series. These formerly not so well known actors are currently some of the world’s highest earning performers.
The first instalment, Twilight, was released on November 21, 2008. This part wasn’t shot in Vancouver at all. The second instalment, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, was released on November 20, 2009, followed by the third instalment, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, released on June 30, 2010, which is the first Twilight film to be released in IMAX. A two-part adaptation of Breaking Dawn began shooting in November 2010 with November 18, 2011, and November 16, 2012, release dates.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
The final decision about where to shoot the movie was between Vancouver and Portland. Since Vancouver was much better in matching the locations from the first movie and allowed much higher production value, it was chosen. Mark Cotta Vaz wrote in his The Twilight Saga: New Moon The Official Illustrated Movie Companion:
The Cullen house was one of the major “match” assignments, mainly because of the Portland area location’s unique design. The production team agreed upon finding a house in the Vancouver area with an interior that emulated the high ceilings, glass walls, and forest surroundings of the first location. One location was positively compared to the one in Portland, and therefore Weitz and the production team filmed portions of the film there. In order to keep with the design of the original house, portions of the story that took place in New Moon were moved to different sections of the house that were not seen before.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Filming began on August 17th, 2009, at Vancouver Film Studios, and finished in late October. This film, directed by David Slate, held the record for biggest midnight opening in the United States and Canada in box office history, grossing an estimated $30 million, until 2011.
Many critics agreed that this film degraded the quality of the series, with a messy organization of the plot and visibly lower quality of performance from the leading actors. Despite not very good reviews, teenagers still love the series, pumping enormous amounts of money into movie tickets and products connected to the film.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn
The director’s chair of the last chapter of The Twilight Saga was taken by Bill Condon, experienced Golden Globe winner, for his film Dreamgirls. The first part of Breaking Dawn is already out, and in totals as of November 21, it’s grossed $291,022,261 worldwide. Once again, the movie was largely criticized but loved by the youth audience.
After a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan, the crew relocated to the Vancouver area, filming multiple scenes in Squamish and in Vancouver itself at the Orpheum Theatre, with Vancouver police making a huge fuss about it and closing down surrounding streets completely.
Other Famous Movies
Twilight Saga and X-Men Origins: Wolverine are just two examples of many famous movies that were shot in Vancouver. Eric Bress’ and J. Mackye Gruber’s Butterfly Effect, Isabel Coixet’s Elegy, Terry Gilliam’s Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Alex Proyas’ I, Robot, and Tim Story’s Fantastic Four all were completely or partially shot in Vancouver.
If you have an afternoon to spare, you can visit all the movie sites in Vancouver. I can guarantee you that if you watch a film that was shot in Vancouver with your family and then take them out for a walk to see the actual places from it, you will all have a great time.