Southport has a rich history dating back to the 18th century, and its picturesque waterfront and downtown area have served as the backdrop for many movies and TV shows over the years! If you didn’t already know, North Carolina is the third biggest filmmaking state in the world, and the only ones ahead are California and New York.
EUE/Screen Gems Studios even has a 43-acre full-service production facility right down the road in Wilmington, NC, that offers 10 stages with 150,000 square feet of shooting space! They claim to be the most prominent sound stage and special effects water tank east of LA and have hosted over 400 feature films, commercials, and television series — including Iron Man 3, Halloween Kills, One Tree Hill, and more.
But, back to what’s actually been filmed in Southport NC! When you watch these movies and TV shows, we can only imagine that you may have recognized some of the backdrops. Let’s start with a few of the most popular major motion pictures:
Crimes of the Heart
Crimes of the Heart was filmed at different locations throughout the Southport area in 1987! You’ll recognize it by the cast, which included Diane Keaton, Sissy Spacek, Jessica Lange, and Tess Harper. The primary shooting location for this movie was 211 Caswell Avenue, known by residents as the “Crimes of the Heart house.” Other places used in this movie include the Dosher Memorial Hospital, the Olde Smithville Burying Grounds, Orton Plantation, and even the Masonic Lodge.
This Stephen King classic was filmed in various parts of North Carolina, including Southport! Drew Barrymore played the young girl with pyrokinetic powers in the 1984 film. The house that was used as the family home in the movie is located on Howe Street and was even put up for sale a few years ago.
Weekend at Bernie’s
Who could forget this 1989 cult classic starring Andrew McCarthy, Jonathan Silverman, Catherine Mary Stewart, and Terry Kiser? This movie was filmed almost entirely on location in the Southport area, except for a few scenes that were shot in New York City. Remember the scene where they’re driving down the road, and they pass by that sign that says “Southport 3 miles”? That was filmed on Long Beach Road near the Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry Terminal. And, the water skiing scene? It was filmed in the Cape Fear River!
I Know What You Did Last Summer
This 1997 movie starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, and Freddie Prinze Jr. was filmed in Southport, Wilmington, and Bald Head Island. The infamous “hook scene” was actually filmed on the pier at Southport Marina! Other locations you may recognize include the American Fish Company, the Old Yacht Basin, and the Dosher Memorial Hospital.
This 2001 romantic comedy starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Jessica Biel, and Matthew Lillard was filmed in multiple locations throughout North Carolina, including Southport! Remember that scene where Ryan Dunne (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is working on his car and his dad comes out to talk to him? That was filmed right in front of the Southport Visitors’ Center on Howe Street. And, the scene where Ryan is out on the boat with his friends and they’re fishing? That was filmed in the Cape Fear River!
This 2001 thriller starring John Travolta, Vince Vaughn, Matt O’Leary, and Teri Polo was filmed in various locations throughout North and South Carolina. In Southport, you may recognize the scene where Rick Barnes (John Travolta) is driving down the road and he gets pulled over by the police. That was filmed on Long Beach Road near the Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry Terminal. Another scene in the movie was filmed at the Southport Water Treatment Plant!
Walk to Remember
This 2002 romantic drama starring Shane West, Mandy Moore, Peter Coyote, and Daryl Hannah was filmed in multiple locations throughout North Carolina, including Southport and Wilmington. Remember that scene where Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore) is walking down the street with Landon Carter (Shane West)? That was filmed on Howe Street in Downtown Southport. Other locations that will seem oddly familiar include the outdoor dining scene that was filed at Cape Fear Restaurant (now Oliver’s), the Old Smithville Burying Group where Jamie uses her telescope, and Trinity United Methodist Church.
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
This 2013 romantic drama starring Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, and Cobie Smulders was filmed in various locations throughout North and South Carolina. In Southport, you may recognize the Yacht Basin Grill as the restaurant where Katie Feldman (Julianne Hough) first meets Alex Wheatley (Josh Duhamel). Another scene in the movie was filmed at the Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry Terminal!
The Problem With Providence
The latest movie filmed in Southport would be The Problem with Providence, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lily James, and Himesh Patel! This dark comedy follows the story of various residents who come from a small yet picturesque island. We’ll include more information once we know when the movie will be released.
More Feature Movies Filmed in Southport NC & the Surrounding Areas
- The Longest Ride (2015): Caswell Beach
- Tammy (2013): Boiling Spring Lakes, The Grille Restaurant on Main Street in Shallotte
- We’re the Millers (2013): Brunswick Forest
- Iron Man 3 (2013): Oak Island
- Arthur Newman (2012): Brunswick Community Hospital
- The Secret Life of Bees (2008): Amuzu Theater, Moore Street house
- The Water is Wide (2006): Yacht Basin Provision Company, Orton Plantation
- Pirate Kids II: The Search for the Silver Skull (2006): Bald Head Island, Caswell Beach, Southport
- Pirate Kids: Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure (2004): Caswell Beach, Southport
- The Lost Cause (2004): Boiling Spring Lakes
Popular TV Shows Filmed in and around Southport NC
- Under the Dome (2013-2015): Bay Street, Old Smithville Burying Ground, Trinity United Methodist Church
- Revenge (2011): Fort Johnston Garrison House/Lawn
- Dawson’s Creek (1998-2003): Old Yacht Basin, Bay Street, Franklin Square Park, Moore Street
- The Water is Wide (2006): Old American Fish Company
- Matlock (1986-1995): Moore Street
Where to Learn More When You’re Here
If you’re interested in learning more about movies and TV shows filmed in Southport, be sure to stop by the Fort Johnston-Southport Museum & Visitors’ Center! They have a great exhibit with information and memorabilia from some of the movies and TV shows filmed here. If you’d prefer to go on a self-guided tour, The City of Southport also has a great map of filming locations in Southport with memorable scenes and where to find them.
Start Planning Your Next Oak Island Vacation Now
Now that you know a little more about movies filmed in Southport NC, it’s time to start planning your next trip! If you’re looking for a place to stay nearby these filming locations, be sure to check out our Oak Island vacation rentals. We have something for everyone, from cozy condos to large beach houses perfect for groups. Give us a call today, and let us help you plan the perfect getaway!