Show-stoppers: 11 film locations from future blockbusters in 2017
Fancy a holiday with a claim to fame? From the craggy coastline of Ireland to the cave-dotted bays of Vietnam, this year’s biggest movies are wanderlust-inducing epics. Here are just a few of the breathtaking destinations guaranteed to hog the limelight in 2017.
1. Star Wars: Episode VIII
Where: Country Kerry, Ireland
Release date: December 2017
Star Wars' cast and crew made a beeline for Skellig Michael in County Kerry when they arrived in Ireland, and they soon fell in love with other parts of the country, including Cork and Donegal, two other locations from Star Wars: Episode VIII. Skellig Michael can be admired from nearby Bray Head or from the spectacular Ring of Kerry route, and it's also possible to hop on a passenger ferry to the island, which is dotted with the ruins of old monasteries. This beautiful country has always been popular with film makers - other movies shot in Ireland include Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Marley and Me. Heading to this stunning destination but not sure where to start? Make sure you don't miss its best bits with the help of our guide to the top attractions in Ireland.
2. Kong: Skull Island
Release date: March 2017
Although certain parts of this film were shot on Australia's Gold Coast, cast members spent a huge amount of time in Vietnam and Hawaii. In Vietnam, they headed to the north of the country, filming in Tràng An (a UNESCO site famous for its network of caves), wildlife-packed Van Long and the famous Ha Long Bay. In Hawaii, it was Oahu's Kualoa Ranch which wowed producers. This gorgeous nature reserve doubles as a working cattle ranch, and is just 24 miles from Honolulu. It's a truly remote destination and a great place to get off the beaten track, either by hiking the network of trails or exploring them on horseback.
3. The Mummy
Where: Swakopmund, Namibia
Release date: June 2017
Swakopmund is a city on the western coast of Namibia. The country's shifting sands have caught the eye of several producers, including the ones behind Mad Max: Fury Road. The Mummy's location scouts looked at several spots, including nearby Cape Cross, but their remote nature ruled them out. The majority of producers are drawn to Namibia because of the country's spectacular coastline, which is largely deserted. One of the most popular tourist attractions is Kolmanskop. Founded in the 1900s, this former mining town was eventually abandoned. Head here to wade through the sand dunes surrounding this eerie ghost town.
4. Thor: Ragnarok
Where: The Gold Coast, Australia
Release date: October 2017
The Gold Coast is a coastal city in Queensland, and it's home to some of the best beaches in Australia. In fact, during breaks in filming, Chris Hemsworth was spotted surfing the region's legendary waves - the area covered by the city includes 70 kilometres of coastline and 270 kilometres of waterways, so it's hardly surprising that it's a water sports mecca. It's also home to one of the largest sub-tropical rainforests in the world. Another Australian destination used as a backdrop was Brisbane, which stood in for New York.
Where: Dunkirk, France
Release date: July 2017
The filming location of this future blockbuster was an obvious one - the setting for the largest ever wartime evacuation. Harry Styles, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance were all spotted filming in this rural region of France. Styles kept fit by jogging along a route near to the set (complete with a team of burley minders) although a word of warning: the recently-released trailer appears to show the former One Direction singer drowning. On the plus side, the film's a great advert for this beautiful - and very historic - part of France. If you can't make it across the Channel, Weymouth Harbour was also used as the backdrop for certain scenes.
6. Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Where: Whitsundays, Australia
Release date: May 2017
It was Johnny Depp's decision to bring his beloved dogs to Australia without submitting them for quarantine checks which first alerted the press to the fact that the Whitsundays was being used as a backdrop for this film. It's one of a number of blockbuster movies shot in Australia: Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey filmed Fool’s Gold on Whitsunday Island and Angelina Jolie shot Unbroken on Funnel Island. Although it's not known for sure which islands appear in the film, it's known that Depp based himself on the luxurious Hamilton Island.
7. The Lost City of Z
Release date: April 2017
This story - based on the true story of an explorer who went missing after heading into the Brazilian jungle in search of an ancient city - was filmed largely in Colombia. The coastal city is used as a base for travellers wishing to explore the Tayrona National Natural Park - the perfect stand-in for the Brazilian jungle. If you're keen to channel your inner explorer but can't make it to South America, you'll be pleased to know that filming also took place in the less remote (but equally beautiful) city of Belfast and Ballintoy, Nothern Ireland.
8. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Release date: May 2017
Guy Ritchie's new film was filmed in our favourite national park: Snowdonia. Images released ahead its opening show Jude Law and Charlie Hunnam in full costume with a backdrop of the region's spectacular mountains. It's the perfect setting for a fantasy film, and Willow, Clash of the Titans and Tomb Raider were also filmed here. And it's an especially apt setting for this particular medieval blockbuster, because legend has it that King Arthur himself is buried within the stone walls of nearby Lliwedd peak. Keen to explore the rest of this beautiful country? Then you'll need our guide to 10 beautiful coastal spots in Wales.
9. Fate of the Furious
Release date: April 2017
Vin Diesel and his crew headed to Iceland to shoot the film's earlier scenes, but the trip wasn't entirely successful - an iceberg-shaped prop was blown across a paddock before hitting two horses, one of which was killed. Things looked up when the team was granted permission to film in Cuba's capital of Havana, making the movie the first Hollywood blockbuster to be shot in the communist country since the US and Cuba agreed to make amends. The set was closely protected from prying eyes, but photos tweeted by the stars showed a speedy Mercedes-Benz M-Class, so we're expecting some high speed car chases.
10. Alien Covenant
Release date: August 2017
This is the sixth Alien film, so the pressure was on producers to find a suitably spectacular location. And they succeeded, settling on New Zealand's Fiordland National Park. This beautiful landscape has 14 meandering fiords and 215 kilometres of coastline. Go here to spot dolphins and hike the walking trails - most start in the pretty lakeside town of Lake Te Anau. For the ultimate road trip, hire a car and cruise down the breathtaking Milford Highway. But just remember - don't open the door to aliens under any circumstances.
11. Bladerunner 2049
Release date: October 2017
Thirty years after the release of the first film, Hungary's capital became the backdrop for its sequel. Actors Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling were said to be blown away by the beautiful city, and Gosling was even spotted taking a dip in the famous Gellert Baths. Heading to Hungary? Make sure you check out the famous ruin bars, which can be found in the city's lovingly-restored historic buildings, and test your mental agility in one of the many Escape Rooms - this particular craze started life in Budapest. #
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