Iron Man 3 Will be NC’s Biggest Blockbuster Ever

Today marks not only the eve of the North American opening of The Avengers – the first guaranteed hit of the 2012 summer movie blockbuster season – but we are also exactly one year away from the next chapter in Marvel’s all-star superhero franchise, as Iron Man 3 is set to begin filming this month in Wilmington, NC for a May 3, 2013 opening, promising to be the largest production in state history.

Iron Man 3 - coming soon to North Carolina

Pre-production on the film has been going on for weeks in Wilmington, under the widely known codename ‘Caged Heat’, as numerous locations have been scouted and local extras already hired. Shooting began this week.

North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue said at a press conference last fall that Iron Man 3 will be the state’s largest film production to date and is expected to create 550 jobs and bring an estimated $80 million into the local economy.

Robert Downey Jr. is 'Iron Man'.

Just yesterday (May 2nd), Gov. Perdue further announced that her 2012/2013 budget will include a proposed $1 million in state funds to launch a community college program to train North Carolinians with the skills and talents needed in the film industry – now considered by many to be the fastest growing industry in the state.

Perdue made the announcement from Wilmington’s EUE/Screen Gems Studios – the largest movie studio outside of California – after touring the Iron Man 3 set.

“It’s not just about the stars and fun and having Robert Downey Jr. in Wilmington,” Perdue said, “it’s about jobs.”

Home of 'Iron Man 3', EUE/Screen Gems in Wilmington is the largest movie studio outside of California.

Home of Iron Man 3, EUE/Screen Gems in Wilmington is the largest movie studio outside of California.

About the time that Iron Man 3 wraps, the cast and crew of The Hunger Games will be returning to North Carolina to begin filming that blockbuster’s own sequel, Catching Fire, which is also scheduled to hit theatres next year and will be followed by the final film in that franchise’s planned trilogy.

Disney and Marvel have not yet announced where their next movie will be filmed, but we do know that it will be Thor 2 and that it is set for a November 15, 2013 release, followed by Captain America 2 on April 4, 2014.

Scarlett Johansson starred in 'Iron Man 2' and 'The Avengers' as Black Widow, but she may or may not be back for part 3.

Expect Hollywood’s mega-budget migration east to continue, as it was recently reported that film, television and commercial productions spent more than $121 million in North Carolina and put about 10,500 people to work in 2011, according to NC Department of Revenue tax records.

The Avengers opens tomorrow, May 4th, and Iron Man 3 is set to hit theaters on May 3, 2013.

Click here for our Iron Man 3 board on Pinterest!

Gwyneth Paltrow stars in 'Iron Man 3' as Pepper Potts. (photo: Harper's Bazaar, March 2012)

Gwyneth Paltrow stars in Iron Man 3 as Pepper Potts. (photo: Harpers Bazaar, March 2012)

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