Blockbusters are increasingly becoming globetrotters: Of the top 100 box office films in 2013, about one-third shot internationally — in 2016 that rose to almost half. “Feature films have been trending offshore, especially to the U.K., Canada and Australia,” says FilmL.A.’s Adrian McDonald, who cites incentives and favorable exchange rates as key forces luring Hollywood abroad. THR surveys distant locales that hosted six of 2018’s big studio bets, all touted at CinemaCon in Las Vegas (through April 26).
AQUAMAN (Warner Bros., Dec. 21)
Location highlight: Australia
In addition to Morocco and Canada, the superhero flick shot on North Stradbroke Island, just off the eastern coast of Australia. “It became the coastline of Newfoundland some 10,000 miles away,” says Warner Bros. physical production president Bill Draper, adding that the locale was ideal for its “variety of beaches and lagoons close to a major production center” and “incredible natural beauty and wildlife.”
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM (Universal, June 22)
Location highlight: U.K.
While the dinosaur flick was primarily filmed at London’s Pinewood Studios, it also shot at the Langley Business Centre in Slough, East Berkshire College in Berkshire and Hartland Park in Fleet. Then it was back to Kualoa Ranch in Hawaii, which has been used for all the Jurassic films. “The ocean view was not in the direction that allowed us to shoot both the ocean and the volcano, so we had to move the ocean digitally,” says Cristen Strubbe, vp of physical production at Universal. “Sometimes you have to improve upon nature.”
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE — FALLOUT (Paramount, July 27)
Location highlight: New Zealand
Standout spots include Paris, where the production locked up traffic circling the Arc de Triomphe one morning, and Norway’s Pulpit Rock, an area accessible only on foot that was snowed in a day after the shoot. But New Zealand may have been the most memorable of all. Says Lee Rosenthal, president of physical production at Paramount: “If you’re creating thrilling aerial work, with Tom Cruise piloting his own helicopter stunts, I couldn’t think of a more majestic backdrop.”
SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO (Sony Pictures, June 29)
Location highlight: Mexico
Sony’s sequel spent roughly 25 percent of its time in Mexico and the rest in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “We shot in and around what they call the Historic Center of Mexico City, where there are a lot of beautiful cathedrals and cobblestone streets,” says producer and Black Label co-founder Molly Smith. “Really, everything was practical.”
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (Disney, May 25)
Location highlight: Spain
While most of the spinoff was shot at Pinewood Studios in London, the movie also filmed in Italy and the Canary Islands. “I was amazed at the diversity of landscapes we were able to achieve within a very short range,” says Jason McGatlin, svp of physical production at Lucasfilm. “Desert, canyon, waterfront, cliffs and mountains could all be found there.”
THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME (Lionsgate, Aug. 3)
Location highlight: Netherlands
Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis‘ buddy action comedy basically took the duo on a European tour, from “storybook Amsterdam” to “the grandeur of Vienna” says Donna Sloan, president of physical production at Lionsgate. “We were able to point the camera in any direction and film picturesque locations without having to reimagine them on a backlot.”
Not all films are doubling down on international locales; these features stayed mostly in the U.S. and Canada
A STAR IS BORN
The Warner Bros. musical (Oct. 5) starring Lady Gaga took advantage of California’s tax incentives.
Warners’ June 8 all-female remake filmed largely in and around New York, even at the 2017 Met Ball.
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL
Robert Rodriguez’s 20th Century Fox cyberpunk adventure (Dec. 21) shot in Austin, where he also lives.
This story first appeared in the April 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.