SALEM — The filming of  "Hubie Halloween" on the North Shore this summer has provided some good vibes for those who get to witness a big budget Hollywood film being made, but it has also provided direct and indirect boosts to businesses and individuals alike.

In fact, the Netflix Productions and Happy Madison Productions film has been one of the more high-profile productions on the North Shore this summer. 

Shooting has taken place at the Salem Witch Museum, Salem Common, a neighborhood in Danvers, the Portside Diner in Danvers, Washington Street in downtown Marblehead and a large villa in Gloucester.

But beyond fans getting a thrill watching movie magic happening or catching a selfie with Adam Sandler, Kevin James or Steve Buscemi, "Hubie Halloween," and others productions filming in the area have given a boost to businesses during the dog days of summer.

Productions hire union workers as motion picture technicians and craftsmen. Local people are hired as production assistants or for other jobs. But the cast and crew also stay in local hotels, eat in local restaurants and cafes and frequent local shops.

"Of course, we spend a lot of money," said Charlie Harrington, a location manager on "Hubie Halloween." He's been doing this kind of work for 35 years in towns all  over the world.

"The economic impact of a film coming to town shouldn't be under estimated," said Harrington. The production buys its materials like lumber locally. They get haircuts. Filming on Salem Common a week ago brought in 400 extras.

Salem has an appeal to movie producers because the city and Destination Salem, the city's office of tourism and cultural affairs, are so cooperative, Harrington said.

"They make it easier for us," Harrington said, "plus Salem has just great locations."

 

 

Filming in Massachusetts has also proven attractive to movie producers thanks to the state's film tax credit, which the state says has a net benefit to the Bay State.

Production companies can claim a credit equal to 25% of "the qualifying aggregate payroll" within Massachusetts and a credit equal to 25% of their Bay State production expenses, according to a report by the state Department of Revenue. Films must incur at least $50,000 in expenses during a one year period. After paying taxes, production companies can request a 90 percent refund of any unused credits or they can transfer them.

The state also offers a sales tax exemption for production expenses, including meals, according to the website of the Massachusetts Film Office.

A 2018 state Department of Revenue report looking at the impact of the film tax incentives in 2015, and this showed 98 productions generated $68.1 million in tax credits, with the lion's share of this generated by 23 feature films.

The state estimated the productions generated $292 million in new spending due to the tax credit, with $112.3 million paid to Massachusetts residents and businesses, with the rest paid to those living outside the state and out-of-state businesses.

A little over half the $112.3 million was spent on wages.

Taking into consideration spending on businesses and wages outside of Massachusetts, and paying for the tax credits, there was nearly $60 million in net new spending in the Bay State economy generated by the film tax incentives. The tax credits generated a net of 577 new full-time jobs in 2015.

One of those who earned some money by acting as an extra in "Hubie Halloween" was Candice Milan, 36, a Lynn resident and theater major graduate of Salem State University.

The teacher at Harborlight Montessori in Beverly dressed as an enchantress and attended an open casting call in Marblehead where she landed the role of a pedestrian with a car. It was a long day in Marblehead, but she was paid $170, including overtime.

"I feel really excited," she said. "It was nice to do something that was fun and creative and also get a little money for it," she said.

Kate Fox, the executive director of Destination Salem, says major film productions represent jobs, investment and the support of local businesses.

However, unlike other films that have come through using Salem as a backdrop, "Hubie Halloween" taps into the zeitgeist of Salem's Haunted Happenings in October.

"This is the first time since (the 1993 Bette Midler movie) 'Hocus Pocus' we have a film in Salem, set in Salem and it's about Halloween," said Fox. It's the kind of film that will serve to market the city to tourists for years to come.

What's unique about "Hubie Halloween," Harrington said, is it is about Salem on Halloween day and night. It's a film that will be streamed by people for decades. 

One of those who served as an extra during the creation of a Halloween fair on Salem Common was Rebecca DeVries, the co-owner of The Scarlet Letter Press and Gallery on Colonial Road in Salem.

In addition to the printing business she co-owns with her husband, Josh, she is an artist "and my artwork is kind of creepy and Halloweenish," she said.

During the scene, they set up a table with her artwork as if they were vendors at Halloween.

They were there amid "tons of extras" dressed in costumes for a scene with Kevin James. They got paid to be in the scene, but they also got something else. The were exposed to local film agencies and were able to network for future print jobs they might need.

Other businesses benefited indirectly from the production.

At Salem Cycle on Washington Street, some of those working on the movie came in for repairs, said owner Dan Shuman.

Then Adam Sandler and his wife and kids came in and bought some kick scooters.

"Thank you to #AdamSandler and family for doing some shopping today. We appreciate your business. I am sorry I missed you," the shop posted on July 14.

These kinds of scooters are not big ticket items, they generally sell for $270, but Shuman appreciated the business. 

"I think it's great," said Shuman of the filming in Salem.

Harrington said one of the scenes of "Hubie Halloween" that was written into the script revolved around the iconic Salem Witch Museum, where filming took place inside the museum last week.

"It was an exciting opportunity for all of us," said Salem Witch Museum Director Tina Jordan, about the filming during one of the museum's busier months.

The museum was compensated, Jordan said. However, what most impressed her, in addition to Sandler's being "incredibly hospitable," was the number of local people hired for the production.

"I hardly met anyone from L.A.," she said. 

Jordan said the cookie popup Goodnight Fatty, at 1 Washington Square, which is across the street from the museum, was also part of the action. It's not normally open on the Monday when filming took place.

"They had us cater for their crew," said Jen Sayce, Goodnight Fatty's co-owner. At the end of the day, with fans hanging out on the common waiting to see Sandler, and as someone from the production was about to cash out, he told her: "'Adam would really like them to have some cookies,'" Sayce said. So, they paid for and brought four-dozen cookies to the waiting fans. 

"We got to make a little extra money on a day we are not normally open," Sayce said of working with the production.