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'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' paves the way for more NYC blockbusters
The "Spider-Man" sequel's star-making turn at the box office this weekend could shine an even brighter light on New York City as a home for big-budget movie productions. More blockbusters may be swinging into the Big Apple soon.
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" marks the first time the web-head's celluloid adventures were entirely filmed in the Empire State, and primarily in the five boroughs, and it's the biggest production in the history of the state, with an economic benefit in the tens of millions.
Industry professionals and city officials tout the newest "Spider-Man" as a watershed moment in Hollywood's reborn affinity for the Big Apple. "The city and the state have made it easy to shoot in New York and eliminated almost all of the obstacles to film here," said Douglas Steiner, the chairman of Steiner Studios in Brooklyn. "There is no hesitation to film here now."
The superhero sequel, which had an estimated budget of $250 million, took home $92 million at the domestic box office over the weekend, raking in much more overseas.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the current 30% tax incentive has played a big role in enticing "Spider-Man" and other big productions here.
On the "Spider-Man" sequel, Sony Pictures paid $44 million in wages and $4.5 million in taxes. The company spent more than $150 million on local services in the state.
"While filming across the state, Peter Parker and the 'Spider-Man' team provided local businesses and communities with a big boost in revenue and hiring, and we look forward to the continued growth, successes, and economic impact of the film and television industry here in New York," the governor said in a statement.
Carl Goodman, the executive director of the Museum of Moving Image in Astoria, said the financial incentives encouraged studios to do all work for their blockbusters, including pre- and post-production, in New York, a significant change from the past.
"That infrastructure is evolving and now we can show that New York can be a one-stop shop for producing and editing a movie together," he said.
Steiner said his studio at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and other production facilities have revamped spaces that rival Hollywood lots.
"They're all coming already, I don't have to sell them," he said of the blockbuster productions.
Goodman added that actors and crew feed off the city's energy. Dane DeHaan, a Williamsburg resident who plays Harry Osborn and the Green Goblin in the new "Spider-Man," said working on city streets played a huge part in his performance.
DeHaan hailed the city's "infectious energy," saying "you wake up and you already feel that energy on your way to work. It's a really big gift." Other big productions that recently wrapped up filming in the city included the new "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" film and Steiner noted that future blockbusters won't be limited to the big screen. Marvel is set to film all of its Netflix shows featuring the superhero team The Defenders in New York this summer. The shows, with a $200 million budget and spanning 60 episodes, are expected to create 3,000 new jobs.
At the end of the day, the film experts say New York's increased film appearances make the world more enamored with Gotham and New Yorkers more appreciative of their home.
"Just to see my city represented in 'Spider-Man' or any other movie, makes me feel better about where I live," Goodman said.