Where Are Blockbuster Movies Filmed?

As modern film technologies continue to develop and government subsidies increase, film are beginning to be shot in locations other than the traditional Hollywood setting.

The film productions that are popular in America are produced not only on its soils, but from all around the world. Indeed, the Hollywood cinematographic machine is a multi-national industry. During the preproduction phase of filmmaking, a great deal of analysis and research goes into deciding just where a motion picture should be shot. The setting for any major Hollywood film might turn out to be as close as just around the corner, or as far as thousands of miles away. The possibilities available for locations to shoot extraordinarily expensive films at times seem to be virtually endless.

Choosing Where to Film

Numerous factors go into determining just where a movie will be filmed. The ultimate decision depends on a variety of practical and artistic factors alike. Finding a location which matches the setting, time period, weather conditions, and plot requirements of a specific movie is just one piece of a very large and complex puzzle. Perhaps the most important element in terms of choosing a shooting location comes down to cost. With that in mind some foreign countries (such as Canada provide tax waivers and other economic incentives to American producers who decide to shoot their motion pictures in their home countries. This kind of mutually beneficial financial arrangement translates into cheaper production costs for the studio, as well as numerous spinoff economic benefits for the participating foreign country. That’s not to mention a great deal of positive PR for all parties involved.

Close to Home

Not surprisingly, US film producers shoot the majority of their productions on home turf. According to recent statistics compiled during 2013-2014, a total of 136 productions were made within the borders of the United States. Also unsurprisingly for logistics reasons, the country next most commonly utilized by American film companies as a shoot locale (with a total of 27 productions) was Canada. A few examples of major American films shot, at least partially, in Canada during this season included Godzilla (2014), Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014), and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014).

Filming Across the Pond

From 2013 to 2014 the United Kingdom placed third as the most popular shooting location for American filmmakers with a total of 24 productions shot there. Big screen productions filmed in the UK included Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Jupiter Ascending (2015), and the latest instalment of the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens (2015).

Yankees Shooting Down Under

Coming in fourth as the most popular production locale for American filmmakers is the southern island nation of Australia. Examples of blockbusters made in Australia included I, Frankenstein (2014), The Great Gatsby (2013), and The Lego Movie (2014).

Other Important Countries for US Film Locations

Following Australia on the list of most utilized shooting locations in the 2013-2014 film year were the European nations of Bulgaria and France. These countries are followed by New Zealand, India, South Africa, and India, each being former British colonies where English is widely spoken. Each of these served as a location for just two American films in that season. Germany, Romania, and Morocco round out the bottom of our list of countries represented, with only one single major American production shot in each nation during the year.

Making Pseudo-Americas Far, Far Away

It should be pointed out that a great deal of ingenuity and artistry goes into transforming these foreign locations into passable substitutes for American locations. A prime example of this is the 2003 America civil war epic Cold Mountain. This movie, which starred British actor Jude Law and Australia raised actress Nicole Kidman, was partially shot far, far away from the US in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania, Romania. As far back as the 1960s, we even saw entire estates in Italy, Spain, and all throughout the Mediterranean converted into the “Old, Wild West”, for filming what became known as “Macaroni” or “Spaghetti Westerns”.

Where Are American Movies Filmed?

RankCountryNumber of Major American Films Shot in 2013-2014
1United States136
3United Kingdom24
7New Zealand3
8South Africa2

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