At the start of the decade, Florida’s film industry seemed like such a success story that it could be headed for the silver screen itself.
A shirtless Matthew McConaughey serenaded swooning audiences nationwide with the song “Ladies of Tampa” in 2012′s “Magic Mike,” the male stripper story that actually filmed in Tampa. Disney stars Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens went bad in 2013′s surreal, sun-kissed crime film “Spring Breakers,” which shot in locations such as St. Pete Beach and Sarasota’s New College and Ringling College of Art & Design.
And 2011′s “Dolphin Tale,” which told the true-life story of the dolphin Winter that was rescued and rehabilitated at Clearwater Marine Aquarium with a prosthetic tail after losing its real one, didn’t just bring movie stars such as Morgan Freeman to Pinellas County and earn $72 million at the U.S. box office. The film resulted in a genuine tourist attraction, with the aquarium’s annual attendance numbers going from about 75,000 before the movie’s release to more than 750,000 after.