Lights, camera, action! Make a road trip map of your favorite flicks.
It used to be that movies and television shows were filmed primarily in Los Angeles and New York, but that has changed. As productions get more expensive to make, filmmakers are looking at locations that not only provide authenticity, but also offer financial incentives.
With so many states wanting to get in on the action, government agencies are offering enticements, resulting in filming locations across the country.
"It goes in waves, but Louisiana is one of the more popular states right now," said Hollywood producer Jerry P. Jacobs, who has made films in numerous states—including Massachusetts, where a few years ago he filmed My Best Friend's Girl starring Kate Hudson, Dane Cook and Jason Biggs. "For example, New Orleans is packed right now."
To respond to the growing interest, movie- and television-themed tours have been popping up in cities across the country, entertaining silver-screen enthusiasts and stargazers alike.
"I think the appeal of places outside of New York and L.A. is that filming is still new enough that there's an excitement about it," Jacobs said. "And people seem to be fascinated by celebrities—moreso in places where they don't usually encounter them."
Below is a sampling of tours that showcase the glitter of places far from Tinseltown.
1. Boston Movie Tour. Not only is this quaint city rich in history, but it's also the setting for many television shows and movies. On this three-hour bus tour, passengers will see where several scenes from 1997's Good Will Hunting were filmed, catch a glimpse of Fenway Park, where parts of the 2005 movie Fever Pitch were shot, and hear all about the filming of recent flicks—The Social Network and The Town. Be sure to stop in at the Bull & Finch Pub, inspiration for the popular TV sitcom Cheers.
2. Classic New York TV & Movie Sites Tour (On Location Tours). While many tours in The Big Apple focus on a specific movie or TV show, this one covers the classics of yesterday through today's blockbusters. See The Plaza Hotel, where such films as The Way We Were, Arthur and Home Alone 2 were shot, and the New York Public Library, which was a filming location for Breakfast at Tiffany's, Ghostbusters and Seinfeld. You can even take photos in front of the Huxtables' house from The Cosby Show. Tours are led by actors and actresses who will test your knowledge of TV theme songs and share cinematic trivia.
3. Chicago Film Tour. Everyone remembers Matthew Broderick's hysterical antics in 1986's cult classic Ferris Bueller's Day Off. But there have been many other movies filmed in part or entirely in the Windy City, including The Dark Knight, Road to Perdition, About Last Night, The Sting, The Fugitive and the recently released Dilemma. Pass by Wrigley Field, featured in movies including Rookie of the Year. This two-hour bus tour is a must for those seeking not only movie-making lore, but historical tidbits, too. A new "small-screen tribute" has been added, giving passengers an overview of TV shows that were set—or supposed to be set—in Chicago.
4. Gossip Girl Sites Tour (On Location Tours), New York. If you're into the drama surrounding Serena, Nate and their Upper East Side socialite circle of family, friends and enemies, then you don't want to miss this 3.5-hour bus tour that includes stops at the Palace Hotel, home to two of the television show's elite families, and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, site of the Bass/Van der Woodsen wedding. Also on this guided tour, check out Chuck Bass' burlesque club, Victrola, and the Sarah D. Roosevelt Park basketball court, where the "Gossip" guys shoot hoops.
5. New Orleans Movie Tour. Snack on complimentary popcorn and water on this three-hour tour that visits many of the city's popular districts, including the French Quarter. Featured movie sites include The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Ray, Easy Rider and A Streetcar Named Desire. Ride in a 10-passenger luxury van that can easily navigate the tight city confines while a guide provides behind-the-scenes details and discusses the art of filmmaking. You may even get to see a movie being filmed!
6. Philadelphia Movie Sites Tour. Visit more than 50 locations from 30 movies and television shows filmed in the City of Brotherly Love. Who can forget that moment in Rocky when Sylvester Stallone sprinted up the front steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art? The 2.5-hour tour—billed as a "rolling movie theater"—includes on-board film clips of movie and TV sites that are highlighted on the outing, including scenes from Marley and Me, Baby Mama, National Treasure, The Sixth Sense and Beloved. A break is taken halfway through the tour at the Rocky steps, where you can re-create your own triumphant moment!
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7. Savannah Movie Tour. Since 1915, more than 85 movies have been shot in this charming Georgia city that is rich in beauty and history. See the Forrest Gump bench, the Six Pence Pub from Something to Talk About, The Mercer House from Clint Eastwood's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and celebrity chef Paula Deen's restaurant Lady & Sons. You'll see nearly 70 movie locations during the 90-minute tour on a climate-controlled luxury coach. Watch movie clips on LCD screens of the very places you are driving by on the tour.
8. Sex and the City Hotspots Tour (On Location Tours), New York. Calling all Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte enthusiasts! This 3.5-hour guided motor coach tour is all about the popular HBO sitcom and its spinoff movies. Enjoy cupcakes at Bleecker Street's Magnolia Bakery, visit the SoHo art gallery where Charlotte worked, and stop in Buddakan, the restaurant where Carrie and Big held their rehearsal dinner. A stop at the iconic brownstone stoop leading to Carrie's apartment in the West Village is a must for a keepsake photo.
9. Sopranos Sites Tour (On Location Tours), New York. The guides on this four-hour bus tour are actors who appeared as stand-ins or extras on the HBO hit show The Sopranos—and are able to share behind-the-scenes information as they take visitors to New Jersey, where Tony Soprano and his mafia buddies worked and played. Stop at Satin Dolls, also known as Bada Bing, check out Barone Sanitation, Tony's legitimate business, visit Father Phil's parish, and sit on the steps of the diner where Chris was shot.
10. The Washington D.C. TV & Movie Sites Tour (On Location Tours). Many movies shot in our nation's capital have government-related plots, but take this three-hour tour and you will discover how many do not. See The Lincoln Memorial, where characters played by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson have a drunken heart-to-heart in Wedding Crashers, and Union Station, where scenes from such movies as Hannibal, Collateral Damage and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington have been filmed. Then head into Georgetown, where snippets from St. Elmo's Fire and The Exorcist were shot. Be sure to brush up on your trivia, as movie- and television-themed pop quizzes are given on board!