LIHUE — It’s like a red carpet event for Kauai.
Locals are excited to see the island grace the silver screen — again — when “Jurassic World” hits theaters this summer.
The film premieres nationally June 12. A private screening of the film for Kauai individuals who were part of the cast and crew for the movie will happen the same day.
“I’m overwhelmed,” said Kauai Film Commissioner Art Umezu, who is hosting the event. “We have the stars of Hollywood coming to Hawaii to film. We’re very happy and proud.”
The movie’s trailer has been released and among the shots is the famous Na Pali Coast.
“It really promotes the island, which attracts who? Visitors,” Umezu said. “It also attracts other filmmakers … and they want to go where Jurassic World was filmed. When you have a crew of about 200-plus people working, it impacts the hotels, it impacts the restaurants, it impacts the economy and whoever they hired while they were here.”
In March, 1,500 people auditioned for hundreds of extra roles for the movie that was filmed on island last summer — those selected are still under a non-disclosure agreement prohibiting them from talking about the movie. It is unknown if Kauai’s theater will be a part of the national premiere, but moviegoers said they’re excited about watching the movie.
“I thought it was pretty cool, it was different from the other movies that came out,” said Angelica Pascual about the Jurassic Park franchise, where the upcoming release is the fourth installment. “I’m kind of excited for it because it’s going to be on Hawaii. I think it’s good that they try to bring it back again ‘cause I want to see what they have; something new for us.”
Bryan Terreira, hanging out at Kukui Grove Center Wednesday, agreed.
“I thought it was good, it looks interesting. I’m going to see it with my friends,” he said. “I like how there’s dinosaurs.”
There should be plenty of dinosaurs. Jurassic World takes place 22 years after the events of the first movie, which was also filmed here and broke box office records when it was released in 1993. In the latest installment, according to IMDB.com, the island of Isla Nublar has opened a fully functioning dinosaur theme park as was originally envisioned by the character John Hammond in the “The Lost World.” Ten years after the park’s opening, the rate of tourism has declined and in order to attract more visitors, scientists at the park have created a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur, with unfortunate, deadly results.
What kind of dinos they are exactly is under wraps.
“It looks interesting,” said Melvin Tington, hanging out at the mall. “I kind of want to see it when it comes out. I like that they’re making a new dinosaur, but I kind of have mixed feelings about it. I wonder if it will be a good-looking dinosaur or a bad-looking dinosaur.”
Sue Kanoho, director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau, said she is also looking forward to the film’s release. Umezu and Kanoho worked together to market movies in the past and will promote Jurassic World as well.
“I’m very grateful to Steven Spielberg and Universal Studios for their continued support of Kauai as a film location,” she said. “It’s good for a destination when you can identify scenes in a movie to the actual location. It makes people want to put themselves there.”
Kauai has also played host to movies like “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Tropic Thunder,” “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “The Descendants.”
It’s a trend that benefits the island, officials said.
Jurassic generated $3 million for the island last year, said Umezu. Overall, 2014 was a good year for movie production on the Garden Isle with expenditures of $4.3 million, he said.
In his New Year’s letter to Hollywood producers, directors and studios, Umezu recapped Kauai’s 80-year movie history noting the 73 feature films, as well as documentaries, reality shows, music videos and commercials that were made on the Garden Isle.
“Kauai offers an incredible array of landscapes and of course, natural beauty,” said Umezu. “The island has been used as a stand-in for Central and South America, Africa, Australia, Southeast Asia, South Pacific and even worlds that don’t exist.”
Other productions on Kauai included “The Biggest Loser,” “Aloha Vet,” a Hawaii Convention and Visitors Bureau TV commercial and an Eddie Bauer catalog shoot.
Umezu said that people have already been scouting for possible feature films and TV shows for the first quarter, but he is unable to mention any names at this time.
“There’s a buzz in Hollywood,” Umezu said. “That will have an impact in the visitor industry because it will affect a lot of people to come to ‘Jurassic Island,’ if you will. By watching it, you’re keeping our history and legacy with Hollywood alive and plus, it’s going to be a great movie.”
A project that Umezu has been lending his support to and which would greatly enhance the island’s film industry is the Kauai Creative Technology Center.
Plans for the KCTC include a commercial film studio that caters to film studios and independent filmmakers with state-of-the-art pre- and post-production media equipment, high-speed broadband internet connection and video conferencing capabilities.
The center would also serve the community by providing job training/workforce development for films and other creative technology fields such as robotics, digital animation and more.
The overall vision for the center is for it to be a nexus for industry development, a hub of community activity and a catalyst for economic growth.
Should the Jurassic World prove to be a success, the commissioner said there may be a fifth movie in the franchise.
That would be good news, moviegoers said.
“It seems pretty cool with all the dinosaurs and stuff like that,” said Sam Bueno, who was also at the mall on Wednesday. “Yeah, they could keep continuing to make movies about it.”
“It was pretty cool I guess. I don’t know if it was my type of movie but it was pretty cool,” Josiah Coatie agreed. “I might (see it) with my aunty maybe.”