Film We Bought A Zoo 'boosts Dartmoor Zoo visitor numbers'

Ben Mee and Matt Damon Benjamin Mee (left) said the film had worked as a "£50m advertising campaign"

Related Stories

The owner of a Devon zoo said a Hollywood film based on his family's takeover of the business had led to an increase in visitors during Easter.

Benjamin Mee bought Dartmoor Zoo in 2006 and wrote a book about his family's battle to run it.

Earlier this year, Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson starred in the film We Bought a Zoo, based on the book.

Mr Mee said the film had not taken millions but the business had benefited from a "£50m advertising campaign".

He said: "It's fantastic. We haven't got that kind of budget normally.

"The statistics show that we're about 50% up on a normal busy Easter and part of that is the weather.

'Blown away'

"But, when you talk to people around, the film has created a huge buzz."

Mr Mee said an overflow car park had been built at the attraction in anticipation of higher visitor numbers at the zoo, which is home to about 220 animals and employs 20 staff.

One visitor said: "We were blown away by the movie and we thought, as we're here we have to come and see the zoo."

The film follows the story of the Surrey family's purchase of the zoo, which had been closed by inspectors, and its reopening in 2007.

Mr Mee and his two children - Milo, 10 and Ella, eight - toured the set in California and attended the New York premiere in December.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Devon

Weather

Plymouth

Min. Night 8 °C

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.