Kualoa Ranch in Oahu is the cinematic backdrop for many films, including Jurassic Park. // (C) 2012 Oahu Visitors Bureau
Thanks to Oahu’s good looks and exotic atmosphere, the number of movies and television shows filmed on the island has been ramping up, and local companies are helping fans visit its filming locations firsthand.
With Hollywood bigwigs eager to find new and creative locales for their film and TV productions, Oahu is becoming a highly sought-after shooting location. In just the last couple of years alone, the island has served as the site for numerous big- and small-screen projects such as Universal Pictures’ upcoming release Battleship, opening over 2012 Memorial Day weekend.
So what does Oahu have going for it in the eyes of filmmakers? The modern amenities of a world-class metropolitan city combined with its variety of architecture, exotic island atmosphere and natural beauty make it a film locale that is tough to beat. Its 600 square miles can duplicate the looks of Africa, Central and South America, southeast Asia and the U.S. mainland.
Lights! Cameras! Oahu!
Following are a few of the recent high-profile film and TV projects that have put Oahu front and center in the eyes of viewers around the world:
The 2012 Oscar winner for best adapted screenplay showed off many sides of Oahu, including downtown Honolulu where George Clooney’s character worked; the Nuuanu Pali lookout; the ocean off Waikiki Beach, with Diamond Head in the background; and Queen’s Medical Center.
The first television series filmed entirely on location, the original “Five-0” starring Jack Lord was shot in Honolulu and ran from 1968-1980. Its 12-year run was quickly followed by eight years of “Magnum P.I.” and five years of “Jake and the Fatman,” also Oahu-based shows. The new “Hawaii Five-0,” now in its second season, continues to showcase the island to the hilt.
Sometimes referred to as the “backlot of Hawaii,” Kualoa Ranch in windward Oahu shows up in all sorts of productions. One of the most famous films to use it as its backdrop was Steven Spielberg's 1993 blockbuster, “Jurassic Park.” When Dr. Grant and the two children hid from a herd of dinosaurs running across a mountain-side meadow, they were actually at Kualoa Ranch.
ABC’s long-running TV series filmed all but four scenes on Oahu during its six-season run (2004-2010). Many of the beach scenes took place on the north shore’s Mokuleia Beach and Police Beach; valley scenes were often filmed at Kualoa Ranch; jungle scenes were shot near Turtle Bay Resort on the island’s northern tip; and the Hawaii Convention Center doubled as the Sydney Airport in Australia.
Other major movies filmed on Oahu include “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Blue Crush,” “50 First Dates,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “From Here to Eternity,” “Godzilla”, “The Karate Kid Part II,” “Mighty Joe Young,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Windtalkers.”
Movie Tours on Oahu
For fans who love standing in the actual setting where a favorite movie or television show was made, the following Oahu companies offer tours to make their wishes come true.
Battleship Missouri Memorial
Located in Pearl Harbor, the retired battleship and popular attraction is unveiling its new “Battleship” Movie Behind the Scenes Tour in May 2012. This new option takes guests on an interactive adventure through areas of the ship that are featured in the upcoming film “Battleship.”
Movie and television buffs get a firsthand look at Oahu film settings during Kos’ Hummer Movie/TV Adventure. Stops include the Nuuanu Pali lookout, the windward side of the island, Kualoa Ranch and the location of films like “50 First Dates” and “Karate Kid II.”
During Kualoa’s Movie Sites and Ranch Tour, visitors can see one of Godzilla’s giant footprints and cinematic backdrops for “Jurassic Park,” “Lost” and other favorites, all surrounded by majestic mountain ranges and native Hawaiian plants.