Film biz made a splash in Coquitlam this year

Tri-City News


Elf may be one of the more enjoyable holiday flicks to feature locations shot in Coquitlam but it’s not the only one as the city wraps up another year as a host for B.C.’s burgeoning film industry.

elf movie
Will Ferrell stars in the 2003 holiday favourite, Elf, and some of the scenes were shot in Coquitlam. Photograph by Warner Bros.

The 2003 production features Will Ferrell as an over-sized elf searching for his dad, and one of the more memorable scenes, when he turns Gimbels’ toy department into a holiday wonderland, was shot at the former Riverview Hospital — not the Big Apple.

“It happens more often then you, think, the’ll be filming a TV series, or a movie and it’s been shot in Coquitlam,” notes David Munro, manager of economic development for the city of Coquitlam.

Thanks to a low Canadian dollar and the Lower Mainland’s growing reputation in the film industry, more large productions are filming in the area, with Coquitlam drawing some big pictures and notable Hollywood luminaries.

For example, 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool 2, starring Ryan Reynolds, had some scenes shot at Riverview, Richard Says Goodbye, starring Johnny Depp and 20th Century Fox’s Bad Times at the El Royale, starring Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth and Jon Hamm had scenes shot in Coquitlam, too.

Several TV series are being shot locally as well, including Netflix’s Riverdale, The Good Doctor, and Super Girl, with a number of series returning for 2019 including DC Legends of Tomorrow, Siren, A Million Little Pieces, and Arrow to name a few.

The movie-making business also added up to some big cash, with the city issuing 137 permits and generating $158,000 in revenues, a 15% hike over 2017.

It provided jobs to 1,931 people in the city, with the film industry accounting for a payroll of more than $47 million.

Riverview continues to be a popular location, and according to an earlier Tri-City News story, can have as many as five companies on site per day. BC Housing stated at the time that Riverview is fully booked into 2019.

But Munro said the city is trying to get location scouts interested in locations in addition to Riverview, and has been successful, with films now being shot in parks such as Mundy Park or upper Coquitlam River Park, among other locations.

“That was was part of our film strategy — to work on capitalizing on what’s available here,” Munro said, “We know they don’t want to pack up and move to Abbotsford, and they don’t have to, if they want to keep it here.”