The film industry's biggest releases can transform the fortunes of a holiday destination, and with a new Brad Pitt film shot on location in Malta due for release soon, the island will be hoping it will have an impact on the number of tourists it sees next year.
If you have what you hope will be a popular film shot in a favourable light screening to a worldwide audience it can bring more enquiries and ultimately tourists to you than marketing and advertising alone can do, no matter what the budget you have, as it independently tells the film viewer that you could be a great place to visit.
And Malta will be hoping that the new Brad Pitt picture, filmed in the summer and due for release in January, will have a significant impact on their 2012 and beyond visitor numbers.
And the hope that the film will bring in new visitors is based on real evidence from previous box office hits that have transformed tourist numbers can be seen for example for the Greek island of Kefalonia, where the 2001 film Captain Corelli's Mandolin starring Penelope Cruz and Nicolas Cage brought the island to the world's attention, which is still benefitting the holidays in Kefalonia industry even today, ten years later.
And it's not just the travel industry that will benefit from increased exposure and ultimately visitors, the whole economy improves. For example in the real estate sector, some of those visiting will like Malta so much that they'll consider buy a Malta property for a holiday home or to move there permanantly.
The film starring Brad Pitt is an apocalyptic movie entitled World War Z, and when released in the U.S. in January, and Europe a few weeks later, is tipped to be a box office smash with millions watching it on the big screen, with similar numbers over the coming years expected to see it on-line, on DVD and pay to view movie channels on satellite television - all seeing parts of Malta.
During filming there was good coverage in the press and celebrity magazines, plus online sites with photos of Brad between filming scenes. His wife Angelina Jolie, a celebrity in her own right, joined him on the island ensuring the media's attention and subsequent coverage was extensive, with more than one Malta blog reporting on their movements during their stay on the island.
Much of the filming was in Valletta, an historic city with centuries of tradition and plenty of character Malta property that gives the movie a real sense of being somewhere completely different from the norm, and has served as the backdrop for films in the past - it's a step back in time for visitors and it has the waterfront along with one of the best known harbours in the world - Grand Harbour - which is frequented by many ships on their Mediterranean cruises, with passengers disembarking for a day of sightseeing.
Leaving aside the benefit the movie will have in perking film-goers interested in visiting once they have seen it, the economy has already benefitted directly to the tune of some 30 million Euros while the scenes were being shot over a three week period, according to one leading island newspaper. Some residents were paid for example whose property was included in the action - a very real benefit for some of the residents who received extra money they otherwise wouldn't have had.
It's not the first time that Hollywood has turned to Malta for location - previous big box office hits include the Count of Monte Cristo, and two that are known throughout the world are the Oscar winning movies Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott and the Da Vinci Code, directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks.
For holidaymakers the best known resorts in Malta are Mellieha - which has a great sandy beach, good hotels and is a favourite with families, St Paul's Bay, Bugibba, Sliema and for the younger generations with a renowned nightlife St Julian's.
And if you can't make Malta for a holiday, you'll be able to see it at a cinema near you in just a few weeks.
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