The Adam Sandler movie Grown Ups has somehow become kind of a film legend. From a podcast where two guys watched it every week for a year, to a massive tourism push to visit where the movie was made, it's becoming more than just a film, and now is just a way of life.
Yeah, it's a totally weird thing, but it's happening, so we're going to embrace it.
The actual Grown Ups movie is about friends who get their families together to commemorate a basketball coach's death, but it winds up being more of a buddy comedy about male bonding. Directed by Dennis Dugan, written by Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf, the film stars Sandler along with Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, and Maya Rudolph.
So why are people visiting where Grown Ups was filmed?
Well, people see the picturesque New England location in the movie, and I think they see an exciting family vacation. Sandler's movie does a really good job selling the area and all the things to do. The movie takes place on the fictional Amoskeag Lake, but in reality, they shot on Chebacco Lake, a 209-acre reservoir near Essex, Massachusetts.
When it came to eating in the movie, they used the historic restaurant Woodman's of Essex, though they renamed it "Woodman's Eat in the Rough." They shut down the restaurant to shoot inside, and this was the first time in almost 100 years it had closed for anything.
One place that kept its name was a water park called Water Wizz, which also was the park used in the movie The Way Way Back.
What are we looking at here? Basically, this little movie drove tourism in the area for the last decade and showcased a place that was not so expensive most people couldn't visit, and was just quaint enough to be charming. This popular movie has another life, driving people to search, "Where was Grown-Ups filmed?" and then to visit. That's pretty rad.
Your own films don't have to be set in the major cities everyone else uses. How can you create a fresh location with enough personality that will make people want to visit the world of your movie? Start by worldbuilding, but also use places from your own life that you love and want to share. Maybe people will search for your movie setting someday, too!
Let us know what you think in the comments.