The latest adaption of Stephen King’s novel “IT’ has broken the box office, grossing more than $500 million worldwide making it the most profitable horror movie ever. The film focuses on a group of children as they’re terrorized by a demonic clown known as Pennywise. What makes the film stand out to those from Oshawa though, is that it was filmed in the city.
The haunted house, which was located on the corner of James Street and Eulalie Avenue, certainly caught the public’s eye when filming occurred in August, 2016, with many eager to see the house for themselves. Now, the house can be seen on the big screen which has many Oshawa residents recognizing their city.
But does recognizing the location or knowing that the movie was filmed in Oshawa change the viewing experience for the audience members native to the city?
“Definitely,” says Victoria Gray who is a student in Durham College’s Social Service Worker program. “I went to the house, I saw it and I saw them getting it prepared and dressing it up and making it look really creepy. So, it definitely made me anticipate the movie coming out even more, and then when you saw it, at first it was really weird cause your so into the movie that you forget that you’ve actually seen the house and it was in Oshawa and then you kind of remember it and you’re like ‘that was really cool’.”
The house is no longer in Oshawa and has been put away in storage but when the house was up it was used mostly for exterior shots. However, this doesn’t mean that filming wasn’t a busy process.
“There was at least five to 10 pay duty police officers watching the set at all times,” says Connor Leherbauer, the business intelligence coordinator for the filming office for the City of Oshawa. “There was a lot of crew and crew vehicles that needed to be coordinated, there were three to four different stretches of streets that were closed off so there was quite a bit of coordination from our office and a couple other agencies.”
IT opened strong, making $100 million and debuting at the top spot in the box office in its opening weekend and those numbers are something the city is proud of, Leherbauer says.
“We couldn’t have asked for anything more as a city in terms of generating attention,” says Leherbauer. “Our film industry though is fairly strong overall, we did very, very well in 2016, even before IT had come here in terms of film permits we were processing.”
Leherbauer also mentions that Oshawa was part of more than 25 television shows, films or commercial productions last year.
As for a sequel, Leherbauer says there haven’t been any plans made yet.
“If we were to estimate when they were coming back, I would say probably summer of next year, if they’re coming back.”
The IT sequel is set to release Sept. 6, 2019, and will take place 27 years after the events of the first film.