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slides: Massachusetts’ Film Industry Continues to Thrive

Saturday, January 18, 2014


With the box office success and critical acclaim of films like American Hustle, The Departed, and The Fighter, Massachusetts has established itself as a highly desirable backdrop and setting for many blockbusters.

"There a lot of reasons why Massachusetts has attracted film production," said Massachusetts Film Office Director Lisa Strout. "Creatively, this is a goldmine for directors. Our cities and towns offer such a great backdrop, from beaches to downtowns."

See the many great Massachusetts film productions in the slides below

The Commonwealth continues to attract big movie projects, drawing high profile actors and directors to the state. According to the MA Film Office website, there are currently six films in production, featuring actors Denzel Washington, Sienna Miller, Bill Murray, John Travolta, and Vince Vaughn; along with directors Antoine Fuqua and Ken Scott.

"It has to do with creative and financial assets that makes [Massachusetts] a terrific place to film," added Strout.

Tax Credits

Massachusetts currently offers filmmakers a package of tax incentives that includes a 25 percent production credit, a 25 percent payroll credit, and a sales tax exemption.

Projects that spend $50,000 in Massachusetts qualify for the payroll credit. To qualify for the production credit and a sales tax exemption, the film must spend more than 50 percent of total budget, or filming at least 50 percent of the principal photography days in Massachusetts.

Unlike neighboring Rhode Island, these credits have no annual or project caps.

According to a study of the Massachusetts Film Tax Incentive Program released in 2013, Massachusetts awarded $37.9 million in film tax credits to program applicants in 2011, and for every $1 of film tax credits, Massachusetts generated $10 in spending.

Recent success

This week, American Hustle--filmed largely in Worcester and Boston--led all other films in Academy Award nominations with ten. Although the movie's plot takes place in New York and New Jersey, the Bay State was heavily featured as a backdrop.

"You can build interiors, but like in American Hustle, they were at the Wang Theatre, which is such a beautiful landmark," said Strout. "You could never re-create that in a sound stage."


Related Slideshow: 50 Movies Filmed in Massachusetts

Prev Next

The Departed


Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Jack Nicholson

Shot in Boston, this crtically acclaimed drama took home four Oscars, including one for Best Picture.

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Ted 2


Director: Seth MacFarlane

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Morgan Freeman, John Slattery

In Ted 2, Ted wants to be a father, but will have to prove he's a person in the court of law.

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Mona Lisa Smile


Director: Mike Newell

Cast: Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Julia Styles

Julia Roberts was paid $25 million for her role in this drama, which was filmed on location at Wellesley College.

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A Civil Action


Director: Steven Zaillian

Cast: John Travolta, Robert Duvall, William H. Macy

Set in Woburn, this Oscar nominated movie was filmed in Boston, Northbridge, Woburn, Palmer, and Deadham. 

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Sea of Trees


Director: Gus Van Sant

Cast:  Matthew McConaughey, Naomi Watts, Ken Watanabe

Filmed in Worcester and surrounding areas, Sea of Trees is the story of a suicidal American (McConnaughey) who befriends a Japanese man (Watanabe) lost in a forest near Mt. Fuji and the two search for a way out.

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The Boondock Saints


Director: Troy Duffy

Cast: Willem Dafoe, Sean Patrick Flannery, Norman Reedus

Filmed in numerous locations throughout Boston, this cult classic features the Boston Common, Copley Square, Newbury Street and the Longfellow Bridge. 

Prev Next

What Doesn't Kill You


Director: Brian Goodman

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Mark Ruffalo, Amanda Peet

Centered around South Boston's Irish Mob, this crime drama was filmed entirely in Boston. 

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Black Mass


Director: Scott Cooper

Cast: Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson 

The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf. 

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The Firm


Director: Sydney Pollack

Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplhorn, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris

Based on a John Gisham novel of the same name, this legal thriller was partly filmed in Boston and Cambridge. 

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Shutter Island


Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley

This box office hit was partly shot at the Medfield State Hospital, the Boderline State Park in Sharon, and Peddocks Island in Boston Harbor.

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Director: Richard A. Colla

Cast: Burt Reynolds, Yul Brynner, Raquel Welch

This action comedy features Charlestown's City Square, the Longfellow Bridge, the North End, the Boston Common, and the Public Garden.

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Director: Larry Charles

Cast: Sascha Baron Cohen

A segment of this mockumentray was filmed at the Four Seasons Kosher Bed & Breakfast in Newton. 

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In Dreams


Director: Neil Jordan

Cast: Annette Bening, Aiden Quinn, Robert Downey, Jr.

Set in New England, this psychological thriller was partially filmed at Northhampton State Hospital and Smith College in Northampton. 

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Director: Robert Schwentke

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon

Primarily filmed in Boston and Raynham, this supernatural comedy was based on a comic book. 

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Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw

This Oscar winning movie was mostly shot on location in Martha's Vineyard. 

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To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday


Director: Michael Pressman

Cast: Peter Gallagher, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer

This romantic drama was filmed on location in Nantucket.

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The Verdict


Director: Sidney Lumet

Cast: Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden

Set in Boston, this Oscar nominated crime drama includes scenes shot at the Massachusetts State House and Quincy Market.

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Director: Frank Coraci

Cast: Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb

This comedy was filmed on location at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston.

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Altered States


Director: Ken Russell

Cast: William Hurt, Blair Brown, Charles Haid, Bob Balaban

This Oscar nominated science fiction-horror film was partially shot at the Harvard Medical School and the Logan International Airport in Boston.

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Gone Baby Gone


Director: Ben Affleck

Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris

Set in Boston, this Oscar nominated mystery includes scenes filmed at Murphy's Law in Boston and Meadow Glen Mall in Medord. 

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With Honors


Director: Alek Keshishian

Cast: Joe Pesci, Brendan Fraser, Patrick Dempsey

This comedy-drama was filmed on location at Harvard University, and also includes scenes filmed at the Boston Athenaeum.

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Bride Wars


Director: Gary Winick

Cast: Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway, Candice Bergen

This comedy was filmed in several MA locations including Boston, Salem, and Sudbury.

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Field of Dreams


Director: Phil Alden Robinson

Cast: Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones

This Oscar nominated movie included scenes filmed at Fenway Park in Boston. 

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Knight and Day


Director: James Mangold

Cast: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard

Filmed mainly in Boston and Bridgewater, this action movie also includes scenes filmed at Worcester Regional Airport. 

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Captain Phillips


Director: Paul Greengrass

Cast: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi

This Oscar nominated movie includes a segment filmed at the Worcester Regional Airport.

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School Ties


Director: Robert Mandel

Cast: Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck

Centered around a New England prep school, this drama was mostly shot on location at Middlesex School in Concord. 

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Moonlight Mile 


Director: Brad Silberling

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon

This romantic drama includes scenes filmed at the town common in Cohasset and Haley's Liquor Store in Marblehead.

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Director: Jonathan Mostow

Cast: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike

Filming of this science fiction movie took place in many MA locations, including Woburn, Lynn, Worcester, Milford, Hopedale, Taunton, Lawrence, and Wayland.

Prev Next

The Thomas Crown Affair


Director: Norman Jewison

Cast: Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway

Shot primarily on location in Boston, this Oscar winning heist film includes scenes filmed in the Prudential Tunnel and Copp's Hill Cemetery.

Prev Next

The Fighter


Director: David O. Russell

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo

Filmed in Lowell, this boxing drama won two Oscars in 2011. 

Prev Next

Summer Catch


Director: Mike Tomlin

Cast: Freddie Prinze, Jr., Jessica Biel, Matthew Lillard

Although this romantic comedy was mainly filmed in North Carolina, it was also partly shot on Cape Cod, where the story takes place.

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The Women


Director: Diane English

Cast: Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing

An updated version of a 1939 film on the same name, this comedy was shot on location in Georgetown, Dover, Gloucester, Sudbury, Medfield and Boston.

Prev Next

Stuck on You


Directors: Peter and Bobby Farrelly

Cast: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Eva Mendes, Cher

Shot in Vineyard Haven and Rockport, this comedy follows conjoined twins who move from Martha's Vineyard to Los Angeles. 

Prev Next

The Witches of Eastwick


Director: George Miller

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon

This Oscar nominated fantasy-comedy was partly shot at Abbot Hall in Marblehead, Milton Academy in Milton, and the Wang Center in Boston.

Prev Next

The Town


Director: Ben Affleck

Cast: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm

Filmed primarily in Boston, this Oscar nominated crime drama also includes scenes shot at the MA Correctional Institution in Walpole and at Anderson Regional Transportation Center in Woburn. 

Prev Next

Fever Pitch


Directors: Peter and Bobby Farrelly

Cast: Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon

Shot in Boston, this romantic comedy touts locations such as Fenway Park and East Boston High School.

Prev Next

Grown Ups 1 and 2

2010, 2013

Director: Dennis Dugan

Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade

These comedies were filmed in numerous MA locales, including Boston, Lowell, Lynn, Marblehead, and Southborough. 

Prev Next

The Proposal


Director: Anne Fletcher

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen

A remake of the Indian film The Boss, this romantic comedy was partly filmed in Rockport, Boston, Gloucester, and at the Beverly Municipal Airport.

Prev Next

The Way Way Back


Director: Nat Faxon

Cast: Liam James, Steve Carrell, Toni Collette, Sam Rockwell

Set in Cape Cod, this comedy-drama was filmed in Onset, Wareham, Marshfield, and at Water Wizz in East Wareham.

Prev Next

Ghostbusters 3


Director: Paul Feig

Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Wiig 

A remake of the cult classic Ghostbusters is currently being filmed in Dorchester. An open casting call is scheduled for Sunday, June 28.

Prev Next



Director: Sydney Pollack

Cast: Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond, Greg Kinnear

This Oscar nominated remake was partly shot on Martha's Vineyard.

Prev Next

The Pink Panther 2


Director: Harald Zwart

Cast: Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Alfred Molina, Andy Garcia

This comedy sequel was filmed in Bedford, Boston, Ipswich, Westwood and Winchester.

Prev Next

The Social Network


Director: David Fincher

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake

An adaptation of the book The Accidental Billionaires, this Oscar winning drama was shot in Andover, Boston, Cambridge, and Meford. 

Prev Next

Paul Blart: Mall Cop


Director: Steve Carr

Cast: Kevin James, Jayma Mays, Keir O'Donnell

This action comedy was filmed at three MA malls: Burlington Mall in Burlington; Northshore Mall in Peabody; and South Shore Plaza in Braintree.

Prev Next

Good Will Hunting


Director: Gus Van Sant

Cast: Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver

Set in Boston, this Oscar winning movie was partly filmed at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Prev Next

That's My Boy


Director: Sean Anders

Cast: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester

Shot entirely in MA, filming locations included the Cabaret Lounge in Peabody and Old Everett High School in Everett. 

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Director: Robert Luketic

Cast: Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Bosworth

Inspired by the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team, filming locations included the Harvard Medical School in Cambridge and Boston University.

Prev Next

The Heat


Director: Paul Feig

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Mellisa McCarthy

This hit comedy was primarily filmed in Boston and includes shots of a Denny's in Danvers. 

Prev Next

Labor Day


Director: Jason Reitman

Cast: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Tobey Maguire

This Goiden Globe nominated film was shot in 15 locations throughout MA, including Acton, Boston, Mansfield, and Sutton. 

Prev Next

American Hustle


Director: David O. Russell

Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence

Nominated for 10 Oscars, this hit film was shot in Boston and Worcester.


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