By Cecilia Nasmith
With the long-awaited release of It Chapter Two on Friday, many Port Hope residents are recalling the time a year ago when their town was decked out to pass as the sleepy Maine hamlet of Derry for the movie's filming.
Figures newly released from the Motion Picture Association of Canada indicate that warm glow has a dollar amount attached.
The Warner Brothers movie filmed in more than 80 communities across Ontario over 86 days of shooting, director of public affairs and communications Sydney Grieve said. And though she is unable to isolate how much of the benefit fell into Port Hope coffers, she did say that the town's status as the stand-in for Derry meant that the filming predominantly took place there.
Grieve said that the filmmakers spent more than $56.4-million in Ontario, creating more than 1,800 local jobs for cast and crew (spending more than $30-million for their talents), while supporting more than 500 businesses in those many communities (to the tune of another $25.9-million). This latter figure includes $1.7-million for construction and lumber supplies, $1.4-million for catering, bakery goods and other food items, $1.3-million on hotels and accommodations, and $19-million on location fees paid to households, businesses and community venues where filming took place (not to mention city, council and other permit fees).
Big-name Ontario talent associated with the project include two filmmakers – Oscar-winning production designer Paul Denham Austerberry (The Shape of Water) and Oscar-nominated costume designer Luis Sequeira (The Shape of Water, Mama).
Local citizens viewing the movie may well recognize familiar landmarks from Port Hope, such as the Capitol Theatre, Memorial Park and the Robertson Street bridge.
Other notable Ontario locations where filming took place include the Elora Quarry Conservation Area, Ham,ilton's Scottish Rite Club, Ajax's Audley Park, the Mandarin Restaurant in Mississauga-Markham and Congregation Knesseth Isreael (the Junction Shul) Synagogue in Toronto.
Mayor Bob Sanderson said Port Hope was pleased that the town could enjoy an encore to portray Derry again.
“We are excited by the prospect that millions of viewers will get to experience the beauty of our incredible little corner of Canada,” Sanderson added in the press release.
“Many of our residents and business owners were fully engaged in the filming process - as spectators of the outdoor scenes in Memorial Park and along our downtown streets - welcoming the cast and crew into their businesses every day, and starring as extras in the film itself.”
Sanderson said that this particular production was the biggest that Port Hope has hosted to date.
“It was truly a thrill to be part of the action.”