The trailer, which was broadcast during half time during this year's Super Bowl on Feb. 6, stared Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning , and depicted a scene filmed at the foot of the Bayonne Bridge where Paramount Studios under Spielberg's instructions had constructed a gas station for filming and used several of the houses as part of the sets in the movie.
The short film featured the main character played by Cruise escaping the devastation caused by the invasion of Aliens, and showed the special effects demolition of the bridge with a tanker truck falling into one of the houses along the foot of the bridge.
As part of the agreement with the city, Paramount converted Klumpp Stadium Little League field in order to construct the gas station and rented movie studio space at the former Military Ocean Terminal which is under the jurisdiction of the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority.
Paramount last week came to an agreement with the city to restore the Little League field, but also may be one of three major film companies interested in setting up permanent film-making facilities at the Military Ocean Terminal - transforming Bayonne into what might become a new film capital for the east coast.
Negotiations may bring major studios into Bayonne
Mayor Joseph Doria confirmed earlier this month that preliminary discussions had taken place with studio people, although the details were not yet available.
"Those talks are still going on," he said.
Industry people, however, said at least three major studios are interested in developing sections of the former Military Ocean Terminal - partly because the city has already invested significant resources into infrastructure, outpacing one of the chief competitors, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where DreamWorks, a firm partly owned by Spielberg, had thought to construct a studio.
The former Military Ocean Terminal may also provide relief from air traffic, which is a constant production problem in studios located in California.
Part of the reported negotiations may also center on the demolition on buildings at the base - a problem for local officials who quote the cost for some at $1 million per building. Some of the buildings were constructed as bomb-proof, making their demolition difficult. Insiders in the one of the companies, said that the film companies might be willing to help with the costs for demolition as part of the redevelopment package.
Movie was filmed in Bayonne in early November
Although construction of the gas station and facilities at the former Military Ocean Terminal sound stages began in early September, filming near the foot of the Bayonne Bridge was done over a six day period in early November. Shooting at the Military Ocean Terminal was conducted for a longer period but sets at both locations were removed in January. The filming used numerous local people as extras, and also used several streets and back yards near Kennedy Boulevard, First Street and Point View Terrace.
While very early in the negotiations, an agreement could bring back to Bayonne the movie making crown which it war early in the 20th Century when Centaur Film Company was located here on Broadway. From 1907 to 1911, David Horsley operated a film studio specializing in Westerns out of a store front at 900 Broadway. He developed his film in bathtubs. The best known of these films were Cowboy's Escapade (1908), Johnny and the Indian (1909), Redman's Honor (1910), The Cowboy Preacher (1910), and Those Jersey Cowpunchers (1910) a spoof on its own Westerns.
Because New Jersey was still largely rural, sets for his Westerns were easy to come by, but as pressure mounted for more authentic settings, Horsley relocated the company to California in 1911, becoming the first permanent studio to establish its headquarters in Hollywood, and began to set films in places like Wyoming.
Since the city acquired the former Military Ocean Terminal officially in 2001, the 2.5 mile long peninsula has been the target of intense redevelopment efforts, for future plans that include housing, retail, office and even a cruise ship port. Because the terminal also had huge hanger-like structures, the BLRA was able to convert several for use as sound stages for the filming of movies and television programs. Since then, HBO has filmed several seasons of its prison series OZ. The TV movie Strip Search, staring Glenn Close was also film here., as were the movies A Beautiful Mind, Two Weeks Notice, Far from Heaven, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Forgotten, War of the Worlds and most recently Callito's Way: the Beginning.
Film studio agrees to fix up field
Paramount agreed to restore the Klumpp Stadium which was used as a location for a gas station prominently featured in the Super Bowl trailer and will likely serve as a key piece in the opening sequences of the War of the World.
City Law Director Jay Coffey II had been negotiating with the company for the restoration efforts since the company tore down the gas station in early January, and recently received promises that Paramount will pay $135,000 toward the restoration and upgrade of the field in time for the May 1 Little League opening day festivities. This includes replacing of the fencing and the removal of a light on the locations. In addition to this, Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise will donate in excess of $7,100 for a new score board for the field that will commemorate the filming at the location.
The restoration includes laying down new sod, as well as new concrete dugouts to replace the dilapidated wooden structures, new drainage, new bleachers and the new scoreboard.
Girl gets honor for lobbying for the lights
On Jan. 20, Veronica Granite was honored at the First Annual Kids Who Make Magic Awards Dinner in the Bridgewater Marriott Hotel.
In 2002 when she was eight years old, Veronica began a petition drive to illuminate the Bayonne Bridge with red, white and blue lights. She had recently seen similar lighting atop the Empire State Building during a visit to Liberty State Park and thought the same thing should be done for the Bayonne Bridge. Veronica began a petition drive to inspire the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to honor the request.
WMGO-FM Radio 98.3 honored Veronica for her efforts, but during the course of the ceremonies, Veronica began to feel uneasy about her distinction.
"She didn't think she had done enough to deserve it after she had seen all the things other kids did who were honored at the dinner," said her mother, Victoria. "Other kids had done things to help people with cancer and things like that. She felt lighting a bridge wasn't as significant as those other things. I told her this was the first of the things she would do in her life. She was very inspired by what she saw."