Is Life Better in The Bahamas?
Tyler Perry Responds
This article posted from: www.talk2sv.com/
Tyler Perry’s ninth feature film, “Why Did I Get Married TOO” opened number two at the box office garnering some $30 million in first weekend revenues. “Married TOO” is the filmmaker’s 2nd highest opening among his film portfolio. Respectable numbers by any measure, the impact of Perry’s romantic comedy sequel may have even larger implications on the islands of The Bahamas where the movie was filmed.
A view of the shoreline behind the “Lush Life” beachfront
property where “Why Did I Get Married TOO?” was filmed.
Tyler Perry tells a group of journalists and invited guests
why he chose Eleuthera Islands in The Bahamas.
According to Bahamas tourism officials, the impact will be felt long after the movie leaves theaters via increased interest in the island of Eleuthera, a 110-mile stretch of aqua-colored waters, pink sand beaches and pristine shorelines. Eleuthera served as home base for the movie.
Early estimates of economic impact began with local employment and accommodations. Craig Woods, Bahamas Film Commissioner, says the weight of the film is huge. “About fifty-odd Bahamians were hired and two of the Bahamians headed their own departments. That’s a big deal.”
In total, Perry’s production team spent about six weeks in The Bahamas, with approximately 14 shooting days on Eleuthera Island.
Woods says good money was also spent on accommodations. “They spent close to $400,000 on hotels and private homes. The vacation house featured in the film was a rental so they had to pay a fee for the use of that property.”
Not all of Perry’s money went toward rental properties.
The Atlanta-based Perry has purchased a small island in The Bahamas that he uses for respite, reflection, privacy and a quiet place to cull his thoughts. “This was really a place that I wanted to go because I discovered something that I don’t think a lot of people in America know. When people think Bahamas, they think Nassau, which is a great island, and I think it is the heartbeat of the Bahamas, but when I found some of the other islands I was blown away by the beauty here.
“I absolutely wanted to show the world that this place is unbelievable. Some of the clearest waters; I’ve never seen water like this. Ok, so I bought a little place here and bought a little island here. For about a mile all around it I can see everything in the water, it is amazing, just the clarity. I wanted the world to see that. I don’t want a bunch of them to come visit; don’t move here (laughter).
“I want people to visit because I’m very proud and very inspired by this place. I come here to write; I come here to vacation; I come here to get away and unwind and I thought there could not be a better place than The Bahamas for ‘Why Did I Get Married TOO.’ After the film was done, I felt the pressure of wondering if I captured enough of the beauty of this place. I hope audiences will be pleased when they see it because there wasn’t a better backdrop for the film.
The house where Janet Jackson stayed on the island of
Eleuthera during the filming of “Why Did I Get Married TOO.”
“Eleuthera’s contrast was perfect for the story because it has all of this amazing beauty surrounding these couples who are going through hell. I really want to say ‘thank you’ to the people of The Bahamas and to everybody who was so kind to us. I’ve been singing the praises of the Bahamian people for showing so much support to us and to Janet (Jackson); when Michael passed, this was the first place she came to. The support that everybody gave; they respected her privacy and we really appreciate it, we really do.”
Looking for love in the right places
When “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” opened, the 1998 movie based on the successful Terry McMillan novel, flocks of single women rushed to Jamaica looking for love or at least some semblance thereof. Perry’s movie could do the same for The Bahamas. To this possibility the 40-year-old Perry comments, “Hopefully they (couples) will not be flying over here to get divorced (laughs). I think couples will come over here to appreciate the beauty of this island. In the movie, there is so much chaos among these couples but when you’re surrounded by this amount of beauty it causes you to calm down.
Will there be a “Why Did I Get Married 3?”
Roger Bobb, producer, Tyler Perry Studios and Mr. & Mrs. Reuben
Cannon also with Tyler Perry Studios attend The Bahamas
premiere of “Why Did I Get Married TOO”
Members of Perry’s camp have stated that –pending box office results following the full run of the film– coupled with viewer feedback will determine whether Perry and company come back to The Bahamas or elsewhere for a “three peat” of the franchise.
The enticement is certainly there. Island officials proudly boast of a near non-existent crime rate citing only random petty offenses.
If Vernice Walkine, Director General, Ministry of Tourism has anything to do with it, Perry and crew have an open invitation to The Bahamas. “Well, he just loves this place and he loves The Bahamas. I think there is nothing you can do that’s bigger than that. He feels comfortable here; nobody harasses him here. He can walk around and not be bothered too much by people; the people of the Bahamas love him. But, we also have a long tradition of having celebrities in our midst and we don’t bother them; that’s why they continue to come back because they feel comfortable here. They don’t feel as if they have to surround themselves all the time with lots of security to keep the crowds away and that sort of thing. Bahamians will approach respectfully and if he’s willing to stop and chat he’ll do that. There is not the rush to get next to him so he can feel comfortable, at peace and relaxed. He loves that. The fact that he actually bought a piece of land in The Bahamas is very telling because it means that he’s putting down roots, of some form here, and that’s the biggest compliment that he could pay us, actually.”
Will Perry join others and choose The Bahamas as his international locale for subsequent films?
A number of films and key movie scenes have been shot in The Bahamas. Namely, the beach shoreline in the closing scene of Spike Lee’s “Miracle at St. Anna,” “Pirates of The Caribbean” I and II, “Casino Royale” and “The Silence of the Lambs,” among numerous others.
Celebrated for the economic vitality he has injected into the city of Atlanta and within the filmmaking community, the cumulative domestic box office gross of the films that Perry has directed is $450 million and counting. By comparison, The Bahamas vs. Atlanta as a principle domicile, he states, “You know it had its challenges because we were in such a remote area. Once we got everything that we needed to the island, it could not have been better. It was almost like shooting in my own studio where I can actually lock down and be quiet and protect everything that we’re trying to do and the actors.” Moreover, he asserts, “What I’m hoping is more people, especially black folk, once we see this movie, realize that there is so much more of The Bahamas to see.”
Speaking of more to see and do, during a recent 42-hour, packed-to-capacity visit to The Bahamas, here are a few highlights from that trip –
Our media group on Eleuthera Island
Our “Serenader” at the “Lush Life” private home in Eleuthera
Ebony Magazine’s Margena Christian boarding
our private charter back to Nassau, Bahamas
The “Lush Life” private beach home on the hypnotic and beguiling island of Eleuthera, site of the vacation home featured in “Why Did I Get Married TOO?” We were treated to a traditional Bahamian lunch featuring Conch fritters, various seafood dishes, delicious frozen drinks and smoothies while serenaded in traditional song.
Graycliff Hotel, Restaurant and Cigar Company. An historic five-star
property offering fine dining, live music and the 3rd largest private wine cellar
in the world. Menu selections are traditional and varied including a sumptuous
dessert soufflé with Guava crème sauce, cooked to perfection. Proprietor
Enrico Garzaroli dined with us sharing highlights and special memories.
Atlantis Hotel - a massive property for families and single adults with shopping, dining, entertainment and casinos all in one location; also the location of The Bahamas black-tie premiere of “Why Did I Get Married TOO.”
British Colonial Hilton Hotel - The yellow property in the middle of downtown Nassau conveniently located near numerous “hot spots” including the famous straw market and walking distance to Nassau’s only private beach. In-room Internet, wonderful cushy and comfy slippers, large bathrooms and a terrific breakfast buffet.
Ristorante Luciano where I enjoyed a refreshing tropical concoction: a virgin Pina Colada and Strawberry Daiquiri combination. Actor Robert DeNiro and family enjoyed a meal while we were there and no one bothered them.
Pineapples – Yes, pineapples! No need to wait for another movie premiere, visit Eleuthera for The Annual Pineapple Festival held in early June, the largest of its type anywhere!
Sun-baked and tummies full, following our
trip to Eleuthera, we were wiped out!
On your visit, you may be fortunate enough to schedule a revitalizing massage with Jackie Gibson (seen above giving a mini massage to Jawn Murray of the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show). She also appears in “Why Did I Get Married TOO?” giving a massage to Angela (Tasha Smith). Rare is the opportunity because Jackie is the Acting General Manager of the Eleuthera Tourist Office busily promoting the island.
In closing, a very special “shout out” to Lee Hayes of Lagrant Communications for all of his assistance during our time in The Bahamas.
Red Carpet Recap from The Bahamas premiere of Tyler Perry’s
“Why Did I Get Married TOO?”
(L to R), Anita Johnson Patty,
Basil Smith and Carla Lockhart
of Bahamas Tourism
Cyprianna McWeeney, CEO,
Co-Founder of GEMS
Dir. General Vernice Walkine
Sandra Varner of Talk2SV
Bahamas Film Commissioner
Mr. & Mrs. Craig Woods
Michael Jai White
GEMS Radio personality Desiree Roberts and Jawn Murray of The Tom Joyner Morning Show
Filmmaker Tyler Perry
Actors Tamala & David Mann
Actress Sharon Leal
Bishop Neil C. and First Lady Ellis
Photo credits: Nicole Clarke and Richard Rae