The next installment in the Iron Man superhero film franchise will shoot in a North Carolina soundstage beginning in a few weeks.
Marvel Studios will film "Iron Man 3" starring Robert Downey Jr. in Wilmington, with pre-production starting soon and work in the state lasting about 10 months, Gov. Beverly Perdue and Wilmington's EUE/Screen Gems Studios said Thursday.
The production is expected to create 550 jobs for tradesmen, technicians and other crew members and more than 1,000 spots for actors and other talent.
"This will be the largest production to shoot in North Carolina," state film office head Aaron Syrett said.
The previous films in the series, based on a Marvel Comics character, featured Downey as a billionaire weapons-maker who fights bad guys wearing a high-tech suit of armor he created. "Iron Man 2" co-starred Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson.
Executives at Marvel Studios also considered locations in Los Angeles, Michigan and New Mexico before deciding Wilmington had the right mix of space, talent, and taxpayer incentives, EUE/Screen Gems said.
North Carolina this year increased its tax breaks for movie and television productions to up to 25 percent. That means movie producers could write off up to 25 percent of their in-state spending -- up to $20 million -- from their state taxes. The tax break is refundable, which means a producer who qualified for a $20 million write-off but didn't owe that much in North Carolina taxes could collect the difference with a multi-million-dollar check from taxpayers.
The incentive has helped make 2011 a big year for the state's film industry. Twenty-nine productions had set up offices in North Carolina as of early September, spending more than $200 million and at least temporarily employing 3,000 crew members, Perdue's office said. The year's productions include the feature film "The Hunger Games" and the television series "Homeland," "Eastbound and Down" and "One Tree Hill."