Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: April 15, 2024 From the Editor

From the Editor: The magic of moviemaking

Who doesn’t love movies? The glitz, the glamour, seeing familiar faces and places on the big screens. Even a bad movie can still be plenty of fun.

WBJ editor Brad Kane at his desk
WBJ Editor Brad Kane

Well, the Central Mass. economy isn’t a big fan. Sure, the region’s business community loves movies just as much as anyone, but the industry just doesn’t have much of an impact here. In 2017, the industry created 1,153 full-time equivalent jobs throughout all of Mass., according to a study from the state Department of Labor. That’s less than 10% of the 16,352 employed by UMass Memorial Health just in Central Mass. By 2022 (a high watermark year for Worcester moviemaking), the Motion Picture Association put the statewide number at 4,350 direct jobs, but that’s a quarter of what one company in UMass Memorial employs in just this region, in the region’s third largest industry.

Still, though, none of that really matters when you see a Worcester location pop up in a movie or spot celebrities walking around the city. Even in the business world where practically everything is judged by dollars and cents, the mystic around films transcends their economic impact. A decade has passed since actor Jennifer Lawrence shot scenes in Worcester for “American Hustle” and Worcester Magazine is still writing stories about it.

Yet, this magical industry in Central Mass. has hit an impasse, as Staff Writer Eric Casey details in his “HollyWoo production, halted” story. Thanks to the film tax credit and the momentum of films like “American Hustle,” a cottage industry has popped up in Central Mass., supporting moviemaking with props, crew, and a sound stage. In 2022 and 2023, Worcester saw 16 movies shot in the city, more than all previous years combined. That fell off a shelf in 2023 when Hollywood writers and actors went on strike, stopping production everywhere. Production has not returned to the same levels, including in Central Mass., as another potential work stoppage might impact the industry moving forward.

If filmmaking never returns to the same levels in Central Massachusetts or if the industry comes roaring back in the next year or two, the region’s economy will barely feel it. Regardless, it would be sad for the industry to remain permanently diminished. Even if the cottage industry around moviemaking never grows to another more than just that, it’s still plenty of fun to have around.

Sign up for Enews

WBJ Web Partners


Order a PDF