The cast of "Iron Man 3" will land in the Port City, bringing with it more than 1,500 jobs and an estimated $80 million to the state.
Gov. Beverly Perdue announced Thursday that "Iron Man 3," the third installment of the blockbuster film franchise starring Robert Downey Jr., will be filmed at EUE/Screen Gems in Wilmington over a 10-month period.
Pre-production has already begun, with production said to start a month after the release of Marvel Studios' highly anticipated comic book hero collaboration film "The Avengers" in May 2012.
Aaron Syrett, director of the North Carolina Film Office, said that while the film's production will be based in Wilmington, Marvel Studios may look at other sites in the State. Syrett said Charlotte and Raleigh are possibilities, and scouting will continue in the coming weeks.
Perdue said Thursday that in addition to an estimated economic impact of more than $80 million, the "Iron Man 3" production is expected to create 550 crew jobs and more than 1,000 talent opportunities.
"My top priority is creating jobs, and this film production will mean high-quality, well-paying jobs for North Carolinians," Perdue said in a statement.
A news release said North Carolina had worked for six months to secure the deal, and the state's 25 percent film incentive played a key role in the state landing the blockbuster.
"I pushed hard to get the revamped film incentive passed, with the help of a number of lawmakers, and now we see that initiative doing exactly what it was designed to do," Perdue explained.
The Detroit Free Press reported that Michigan was in the running to host the production, however North Carolina's tax incentive was what ultimately won the film.
Michigan state senator Randy Richardville told The Free Press the Michigan Film Office upped its offer to $20 million to match North Carolina's offer, but that North Carolina guaranteed the money.
Marvel Studios Co-President Louis D'Esposito called the opportunity to film in North Carolina "unique."
"We are very pleased to bring the latest installment in the 'Iron Man' franchise to North Carolina as it offers us filming opportunities that are unique to the area, which ultimately will benefit the film," D'Esposito said.
Syrett said "Iron Man 3" will be "the largest production to shoot in North Carolina."
"The state's film office now has the tools in place to once again bring North Carolina to the forefront of the film industry thanks to one of the smartest incentives in the business passed by our Governor and legislature," Syrett said.
EUE/Screen Gems co-owner Chris Cooney added, "This film is a game changer -- not only for our studios, but for the entire state of North Carolina."
The "Iron Man 3" announcement continues a big year for North Carolina when it comes to film production. As of Sept. 10, 29 productions had set up offices in the state with an estimated impact of more than $200 million, according to the governor's office.
"2011 has been North Carolina's busiest year in the film industry with productions having a direct spend of over $200 million," Perdue said. "Iron Man 3' will add to this record breaking year and carry over into 2012."
The first two "Iron Man" films were primarily shot in Southern California.
At New York Comic-Con earlier this month, "The Avengers" producer Kevin Feige said "Iron Man 3" will be "the first of what we refer to Phase Two of this Avengers Assemble talk, which will lead to an 'Avengers 2."
Feige went so far as to say a teaser for "Iron Man 3" will be attached to the credits for "The Avengers."
"It's a nice tradition, and I like traditions, so I think we'll keep that up," Feige said.
Shane Black will take over directorial duties from Jon Favreau, who helmed the first two "Iron Man" films. Black's credits include 2005's "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," which also starred Downey.
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