Michigan's movie and film industry has been a part of state history since long before the recent movie production tax incentives. For the official history of motion picture production in Michigan we would have to go back to the beginning of the Post–World War II baby boom when MGM’s This Time for Keeps was filmed using the Mackinac Island Grand Hotel as a set. This was in 1947.
Since then, according to the Michigan Film Office website a list of 319 filmed in Michigan titles have been shot in Michigan Although, some of these titles were only arguably Made in Michigan based on title alone, they are still part of this list which keeps growing today at a record pace.
The Michigan film industry from the 1970s
The 1970s proved to be a benchmark decade in the development of cinema, both as an art form and a business. With young filmmakers taking greater risks and restrictions regarding language and sexuality lifting, this period produced some of its most critically acclaimed and financially successful films since the "golden era ". The 1980s saw an increased amount of nudity in film.
In 1984, the MPAA instituted the PG-13 film rating to accommodate films that straddled the line between PG and R. Although largely intended for Hollywood, Michigan made movies were no exception. Michigan movies such as Scarecrow, The Betsy and Hardcore among others, would receive this new designation.
The1980s also saw an increasing emphasis in film franchises, especially in the action, horror and science fiction genres. It was reasoned, and perhaps mistakenly so, that if the first movie was a box office hit, the second would produce profits as well.
With Beverly Hills Cop, with box office gross of $284 million making it one of the top grossing films of the 1980s giving rise to Beverly Hills Cop II, and Evil Dead, a cult classic, amping up the blood and gore in its sequel Evil Dead II, it was naturally assumed that both films would be shot here in Michigan. However, according to sources, neither of these films were very much connected to Michigan.
Beverly Hills Cop II was shot almost entirely in Los Angeles; Evil Dead II, except for a fleeting few minutes, was shot almost entirely in either Wadesboro and Wilmington, North Carolina.
The 1980s saw an increase in movie production in Michigan, with the later 1980s really taking off. Here with is a look at movies credited with having been produced in Michigan in the 1980s.