3 Special Event Ideas from Your Favorite Movies

Metrix Reloaded, meetings
Matrix Reloaded had one of the highest-ever budgets for its elaborate sets.

Draw upon the inspiration of Hollywood for your special event ideas.

Event planners often have turned to the movie industry for creative theming ideas for special events. We looked at three of the most elaborate and big-budget movies ever for ideas.

Matrix Reloaded

Though it appears that much of this movie was computer-generated, it had one of the highest set budgets of any Hollywood film. The mos complex shoot was a highway scene for which the producers needed to build a real road, and used an old military base to do so, at a cost of upwards of $2.5 million. Local convention and visitors bureaus are a great source of ideas for sites such as abandoned bases, building sites, old dockyards, empty airplane hangars, which can be transformed into unforgettable event venues with live music, catering and theming that play off the location.

Hello, Dolly!

This 1969 film starring Barbara Streisand poured more than $25 million (in that time, an extravagant budget) into the construction of elaborate sets, the most famous of which was the $2 million Harmonia Gardens set, with its ivory furniture and large ornate fountains. The entire set was actually created at Stage 14 at Fox Studios. Using a movie studio as a backdrop for your event builds buzz and creates a sense of exclusivity. Many cities have local studio sets and of course there are the major studios, such as Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, a historic movie lot with small-town streets where TV and movies are shot and its own catering staff.

Lord of the Rings

For groups visiting New Zealand, the Hobbiton movie set is accessible from Auckland and Matamata and has two special venues, the masterfully recreated Green Dragon Inn from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies, and the Party Marquee, with a vibrant painted canvas exterior and colorful lanterns and a garden bar outside overlooking the Hobbiton Movie Set.


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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.