Since the invention of cinematography films have grown in terms of scale and complexity. This growth at some point led to the necessity of large movie sets on which movies were shot. Some of them were so big and so elaborate that the studios never took them apart. Today such places are some of the world’s most visited sites by travelers.
The Blues Brothers – This was a 1980s musical comedy that starred John Belushi and Dan Akroyd. Several of the movies scenes were shot in the Dixie Square Mall in Harvey. The mall was abandoned long before the movie and therefore the film producers decided to use. Today the mall is still deserted which hasn’t stopped it from becoming one of Illinois most visited landmarks.
Big Fish – Directed by Tim Burton, this movie was released in 2003 and was shot in Montgomery, Alabama. The film is set in the fictional town of Spectre which was built from the ground up especially for the film. Today the little settlement is abandoned and is one of Alabama’s most popular ghost towns.
Batman – While Gotham city is located in the United States in the DC Universe, the set on which the movie was shot is located on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, in the United Kingdom. All the scenes that depicted Batman’s town were shot in the English town of Milton Keynes in the County of Buckinghamshire. Today sadly most of the set lies in ruins but those who were lucky enough to visit it a few years after the film was shot, saw several prominent Gotham edifices in their full splendor. Even though it is in ruins it is still one of the county’s most visited tourist attractions.
Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra – Asterix is one of the most successful Francophone comic book franchises. The first edition of the Gaul hero was published in 1959 and since than a total of 36 books and 4 live-action movies were released. One of these movies was the Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra which unlike what you may think wasn’t shot in Egypt, but in Morocco. The set of the movie can be found in Ouarzazate a city in the central parts of the country.
Looper – This may not be the most successful film in which Bruce Willis has starred but it still had a cool set that can be visited. Several scenes of the movie took place at a diner which is literally situated in the middle of a field near Napoleonville in the state of Louisiana. Sadly since the movie has been completed the diner’s state has deteriorated heavily but it is still worth a visit in you are nearby.
Iron Man – The opening scenes of the first movie about the armored hero were shot in Blue Cloud Movie Ranch in California. Throughout the years the ranch has been used in numerous films but today it is an abandoned movie set which is mostly used for touristy purposes instead of film making.
The Hunger Games– The last movie from the Hunger Games franchise isn’t still released but the film has already its own abandoned set. River Mill Village was a textile community which was abandoned during the 1920s, and the film makers decided to convert it into the slums of District 12 into the movie. Once all scenes were shot the North Caroline based set was vacated
The Abyss – This is beyond any doubt one of the best science-fiction adventure films ever produced. The movie starred Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth and as you might imagine – wasn’t shot at the bottom on the ocean. Instead the unfinished Cherokee Nuclear Plant in Gaffney, South Caroline was filled with water and was used for all the underwater scenes. Today the water is long gone but the deep-ocean base is left untouched and can be visited all year long.
Star Wars – With the upcoming seventh Star Wars movie no list would be complete without a reference to the franchise. The fictional desert planet of Tatooine is actually situated in North Africa in the deserts of Morocco and Tunisia. The set has featured in all Star Wars films with the exception of “The Empire Strikes Back”. However you cannot visit the Moroccan set at the moment as it is used in the production of the newest movies from the franchise.
Popeye – This popular cartoon character was brought to life in 1980 in the eponymous musical comedy that features Robin Williams, Shelley Duvall and Paul L. Smith. The film was shot in a small and picturesque village on the island country of Malta. The entire village was specifically built for the movie. Once the it was completed the producers decided to abandon it as it was cost less than to knock it down. Today the once set is known as Popeye Village and is one of the country’s most famous tourist attractions.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl – Wallilabou Anchorage on the island county of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was the principal location for the first movie from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Today many of the props and sets are left intact and are regularly visited by fans of the series.
Remaining movies from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise
|Title||Release date||Male leads||Female leads|
|Dead Man’s Chest||July 7, 2006||Johnny Depp & Orlando Bloom||Keira Knightley|
|At World’s End||May 25, 2007||Johnny Depp & Orlando Bloom||Keira Knightley|
|On Stranger Tides||May 20, 2011||Johnny Depp &Ian McShane||Penelope Cruz|
|Dead Men Tell No Tales||July 7, 2017||Johnny Deep & Geoffrey Rush||–|
Lord of the Rings and Hobbit – It’s not a secret that all six movies were shot in New Zealand. However the most interesting location is Hobbiton which is a movie set near Matamata that depicts the village of the Hobbits in Middle-earth. It is set on a scenic private farmland and can be seen via a two-hour guided tour. Here are the titles of all the movies in which Hobbiton has appeared:
- Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
- Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
- Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies