Movies filmed in NJ include the newest "Mean Girls" – My Central Jersey

“Mean Girls”, which opens in theaters Friday, joins more than a handful of movies that have found Central Jersey so fetch.
The musical adaptation of the 2004 hit motion picture filmed several scenes inside a private home in the Colonia section of Woodbridge. In fact, most of the movie was filmed in the Garden State.
New Jersey has long been considered the birthplace of the motion picture industry with Central Jersey right in the thick of it.
Thomas Edison, a longtime Menlo Park resident, invented the technology that made movies possible, and the first movie studio − Black Maria − was in nearby West Orange. “Fred Ott’s Sneeze”, the first motion picture to be copyrighted in the United States, was filmed there.
In recent years there seems to have been a resurgence of movie attention in New Jersey.
Gov. Phil Murphy in 2018 reinstated the New Jersey Film and Digital Media Tax Credit Program, which included a 40% subsidy for studio development and a 30% tax credit on film projects. This program, whose goal is to incentivize production companies to film and create digital media content in the state, was further expanded in 2020
This month, Murphy signed legislation that increases the state’s digital media content production tax credit to 35% of qualified expenses purchased through vendors in South Jersey and Mercer County. The bill also raised the cumulative annual limitation on digital media content production tax credits from $10 to $30 million.
In another year the legislation will grant another $100 million in tax credits for Garden State film-lease partners.
According to the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission website, many productions have resumed filming in the state after last year’s writers’ and actors’ strikes. This includes “Killing Castro” which had some scenes shot in Linden, and “Riff Raff ” which stars Dustin Hoffman, Jennifer Coolidge and Gabrielle Union, and films in Plainfield among other Garden State locations.
The following movies were either filmed or set in Central Jersey:
The musical version of “Mean Girls” features a home in Woodbridge among its many New Jersey sets, including Mater Dei Prep, a closed Catholic school in Middletown, and Saint Elizabeth University in Florham Park. Tina Fey, who wrote the original screenplay based on Rosalind Wiseman’s book “Queen Bees and Wannabes”, is a producer along with Lorne Michaels. Fey also wrote the 2017 Broadway musical’s script and this 2024 version of the teen comedy. In both the original and the musical film, Fey and Tim Meadows reprise their roles as high school teacher Ms. Norbury and Principal Duvall, respectively.
The movie starring Metuchen High School graduate Anne Hathaway filmed many scenes in locations throughout the state, including South Amboy and Metuchen. The drama mystery opened in theaters in December.
The romantic comedy was filmed in Dunellen and parts of Somerset County. The movie, which focuses on a father-son relationship and baseball, is based on the book of the same title by Princeton University graduate David Duchovny, who wrote, starred and directed the 2023 film.
The animated 2019 adaptation finds Gomez and Morticia Addams on their wedding day, being chased with the rest of the Addams clan by an angry mob that disapproves of their macabre nature. Gomez and Morticia decide to move to New Jersey, a place “no one would be caught dead in.” In Westfield, where Addams Family creator Charles Addams was born and raised, Gomez, Morticia and Thing find their “perfect” home in an abandoned asylum on a hill.
The 2007 movie, set in Plainsboro, helped lift off the careers of Anna Kendrick and Reece Thompson. The comedy-drama tells the tale of 15-year-old Hal Hefner, who stutters, has parents who are divorcing and a big brother that picks on him. Then he is asked to join his school debate team by a pretty classmate Ginny Ryerson, and life’s big questions start needing answers.
New Brunswick plays a role in the 2004 quirky adventure that finds investment banker Harold Lee and medical student wannabe Kumar Patel on the road in search of White Castle burgers. After traveling to the nearest White Castle in New Brunswick, they find it replaced by “Burger Shack.” They then set off for another fictional White Castle in Cherry Hill. These days, the pair would simply have to go on to nearby South Brunswick, South Amboy, Metuchen, Linden, South Plainfield or Green Brook. But that probably would have been a much shorter and much less funny movie.
Although the 2003 comedy is officially set in New York, it was filmed a little south of the city with many of the movie’s locations in Edison. Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway also is featured in many theater scenes in the film.
More:Amazon Prime film ‘Goodnight Mommy’ was filmed at Bedminster home
The 2001 cult comedy filmed mainly in Old Bridge was directed by Louis C.K. and stars Lance Crouther and a slew of Hollywood elite like Wanda Sykes, Kristen Bell, Robert Vaughn, Missy Elliot, Jennifer Coolidge and Chris Rock, most before they were big names. The film script was adapted from a comedy sketch that first appeared on “The Chris Rock Show.” The character Pootie Tang, who speaks in gibberish only truly understandable to other characters, is a satire of the stereotyped action heroes who appeared in old blaxploitation films. Viewers know the setting is the Garden State by the New Jersey Turnpike stickers seen on the road.
Parts of the movie, which came out in 2000, was filmed in South Amboy. The lead character Violet Sanford, portrayed by Piper Perabo, was raised in the city and nicknamed “Jersey” upon her move to New York City in the musical comedy-drama cult classic.
Another film set in the New Brunswick area, the 1984 motion picture stars John Lithgow, a 1963 graduate of Princeton High School and has a neurosurgeon character nicknamed “New Jersey”, portrayed by Jeff Goldblum. Though mainly filmed in California, the science fiction cult film features a scene set in the iconic “Greasy Tony’s”, a former real Rutgers hot spot once found at the corner of Somerset Street and Easton Avenue.
Although the setting is New England, the 1982 movie has a scene on the Rutgers University main campus in New Brunswick. The Academy award-winning film starred Robin Williams, John Lithgow and Glenn Close.
The 1947 classic is set in Perth Amboy and stars Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, Ann Rutherford and Boris Karloff. On his commute from his hometown of Perth Amboy, Walter Mitty, a man who is known to be a daydreamer and fantasist, clumsily falls into Rosalind van Hoorn, who uses the moment to get help from Mitty and escape her pursuer. She hands Mitty a black book and unknowingly, Mitty is then thrust in the middle of a ring of spies and hidden treasure.
Cheryl Makin is an award-winning features and education reporter, part of the USA Today Network. Contact: or@CherylMakin. To get unlimited access, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.







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