Boston Movie Mania Boosts Retail

Actress Jayma Mays filmed mall hostage scenes here for two months before discovering Louis Boston, the upscale specialty retailer on Newbury Street.

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BOSTON — Actress Jayma Mays filmed mall hostage scenes here for two months before discovering Louis Boston, the upscale specialty retailer on Newbury Street.

"I never knew what was in here," she said, sliding into a chair at the store's cafe, Boston Public. "This is fantastic."

Mays, who has appeared on ABC's "Ugly Betty," NBC's "Heroes" and other TV shows, spent March through May shooting the role of a worker in a mall hair-extensions kiosk in the comedy "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," starring Kevin James. In Boston, Mays' co-workers splurged at Marc Jacobs, Envi, Calypso and Gretta Luxe, and the movie's costume designer, Ellen Lutter, spent more than $100,000 locally.

Apparel stores have been among the major beneficiaries of a 25 percent film tax credit established by the state legislature in 2006, which has lured major movie projects and generated millions of dollars in sales around Greater Boston. Revenue generated by movie shoots in Massachusetts will jump to $380 million so far this year from $6 million in 2005. Including television commercials, there have been 88 projects and $550 million in film revenues since 2006.

"Any business is good business — we say bring it on," said Barneys New York spokeswoman Dawn Brown. Barneys has assigned a staffer in Boston to assist costume designers.

Saks Fifth Avenue has taken a similar measure, said "Bride Wars" costume designer Karen Patch. Spending her way through "at least" $100,000, Patch hit Escada, Armani and Saks (mother-of-the-bride looks for Candice Bergen). At Louis Boston, she stocked up on cashmere sweaters and Loeffler Randall shoes for Anne Hathaway's character.

For "Bride Wars," a Cambridge storefront was transformed into a Vera Wang boutique where co-stars Kate Hudson and Hathaway shop, a bit of brand exposure that can only boost the actual Boston Vera Wang salon on Newbury Street. Wang made custom gowns for the film — a lace-and-tulle number for Hudson and blush taffeta for Hathaway.

"Mall Cop" worked with retailers on several scenes. For one, a fight between mall cop James and a portly woman in Victoria's Secret, the innerwear chain flew in two visual merchandisers to ensure the brand was properly represented, said Carl Randal, the film's brand integration consultant. Quiksilver donated Roxy and Quiksilver clothing for a scene in a surf shop.
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