Dracula movie from Universal Pictures to be filmed in Northern Ireland
A major Hollywood studio is to film a new Dracula movie in Northern Ireland later this year, it has been confirmed.
Universal Pictures' production of Dracula will be based in Belfast, but it will be filmed across various locations in Northern Ireland.
The three-month shoot is due to begin in August and will receive financial support from Northern Ireland Screen.
The announcement has been hailed as a welcome boost for the NI economy by the first and deputy first ministers.
First Minister Peter Robinson said: "The Northern Ireland Executive is committed to continue to invest in our creative industries.
"This is fantastic news for the local film industry which further cements Northern Ireland's reputation as a world-class production location."
Mr Robinson said it was the second time that Universal Pictures had confirmed the filming of a major production in Northern Ireland and he added the announcement would "deliver an important economic boost through job creation and investment".
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: "The film industry is an important sector for our economy and we offer an exceptionally competitive location for film and television production projects.
"With the next series of HBO's BAFTA award winning Game of Thrones series, about to start in July, Universal's decision to film Dracula here is another strong vote of confidence in our local filming industry and our ability to attract global players."
The film's executive producer, Joe Caracciolo, said his company were "very much looking forward to bringing Dracula to Northern Ireland" and added that the location made "good financial sense".
He said this was due to "Northern Ireland Screen's film incentive programme, the favourable exchange rate, and an impressive local infrastructure that is well suited for this type of project."
Mr Caracciolo added: "Filming Dracula in Northern Ireland allows us to capture the extraordinary beauty and topography that resemble the European backdrop in which this story takes place."
Northern Ireland Screen, which is funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund, is to contribute £1.65m to support the film.
The government-backed film agency said it estimated that the production would deliver £15m expenditure on goods and services in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland Screen's chief executive, Richard Williams, said: "We are delighted to renew our relationship with Universal Pictures and look forward to working with Joe and his team.
"Securing Dracula is a real coup for Northern Ireland; as well as offering employment for our fantastic crew base, large-scale productions provide apprenticeship and trainee opportunities, thus helping ensure our local talent base has the opportunity to continue to develop."
Dracula will star Welsh actor Luke Evans from Fast & Furious 6 and Canadian Sarah Gadon, who recently featured in A Dangerous Method.
The film will be directed by Gary Shore and produced by Michael De Luca.