What Brands Need To Know About Where Hollywood Movies Shoot


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Many people assume Hollywood films are shot in Hollywood – and that could not be further from the truth today. Hollywood movies are entirely based on tax incentives, the need for different set environments, and crew costs in general, and today you can find films shot in the far reaches of the world. And it’s hard on the folks who work in the film business, as they have to leave their families (and pets!) for three to six or more months at a time to live on-site in these nether regions. 

One of our agency’s favorite researchers about all things entertainment is a British fellow named Stephen Follows.  He wrote an article from which we are sharing tidbits of where films are actually shooting, and suggest you read the full article for more information. 

But Hollywood Remains The Center Of The Entertainment Marketplace

Keep in mind, a production starts from an idea, and that idea is absolutely started in and grown in Hollywood – from being just a concept to the first pages of a script, the studios, production companies, and talent agencies all are typically based in either Los Angeles or in some cases, New York.  So a production that is shooting internationally is still a film being driven by people in Hollywood, and that is where the brand integration and promotional partnership deals still originate from.

And even with films that shoot internationally, often at least one US city will still get some screen time.


So Where Do Films Shoot?

In this study, Stephen took a look at 2,088 live actions scripted feature films released by Hollywood studios between 2000 and 2014 and found that today:

  • 48% of Hollywood films are shot exclusively in America
  • 28% are shot entirely outside of the USA
  • In 2014, 15% of Hollywood films were shot in part in the UK
  • The UK has taken over from Canada as most popular non-US Hollywood movie locations
  • Films set in New York are often shot in Toronto
  • 71% of films shot in Iceland between 2000-14 were ‘Adventure’ films


The Most Popular Countries Where Films Shoot

The UK and Canada are two of the most popular filming destinations outside of the US.  

Why?  It all comes down to money.  The UK’s tax incentive program provides Hollywood studios almost a fifth of the money they spend in the UK back in cash – which includes hiring locales as part of the production crew.  The UK in its own right has a very established film community, which means experienced crews, studios, and post-production facilities exist to support the need.  

Canada is an easy jump from Los Angeles or New York and has established filming communities to handle the US film business in Vancouver and Toronto, and to a lesser extent, Calgary.  Runaway productions – where films and TV shows went to shoot away from Hollywood to save money – started really increasing in the mid to late 1990s. Today states like New Mexico and New York give Canada a run for their tax incentive money. 



What This Means For Brands - Shipping Costs!  Or Storage Elsewhere

This study shows the reason why brands who participate in Product Placement and Brand Integration programs need to plan on some additional shipping fees.

Just because a brand is shooting internationally, doesn’t mean the location is supposed to be international at all.  Productions who shoot in Bulgaria may still need a US grocery store built out from A to Z, and that means some heavy planning for shipping to deal with customs brokers to avoid having to pay additional taxes into the country, and a plan for what should be returned, and what consumables should stay on set when the production wraps.

And for brands who can wrap their heads (and wallets) around this, it can be a major major win, and guarantee some excellent screen time.


International Partnerships

For some locales, like the UK, brands interested in the big-named films that are shot there can benefit from partnerships between their US Product Placement agencies, which can arrange to store products at other facilities and have someone at the ready to hand deliver directly to set. Of course, as an agency, Hollywood Branded has in place for brands that are interested.

Keep Your Eye Out!

So the next time you are watching a movie or TV show and you THINK it is taking place somewhere you know... look again, as it may just be movie magic!

Have you ever wondered how a comprehensive product placement program works? Or do you want to know how to create a promotional partnership strategy with a movie partner? This video will answer all of your questions as it shows the steps and processes taken by Hollywood Branded that lead to your brand increasing both consumer engagement and sales!

How Product Placement Works Video