PROVIDENCE — A vacant Friendly’s restaurant in North Providence will be used to film “Good Burger 2,” the sequel to the 1997 movie based on the Nickelodeon series “All That,” the Rhode Island Film & Television Office announced Tuesday.
The old Friendly’s on Mineral Spring Avenue will eventually be replaced with a car wash, but first it will be the scene of the new movie starring Kenan Thompson, a longtime “Saturday Night Live” cast member, and Kel Mitchell, who also starred in the original “Good Burger,” said Steven Feinberg, executive director of the Rhode Island Film & Television Office.
Filming is set to begin on May 18 and last through June 20, Feinberg said. The film will employ 150 to 200 crew members and include at least 150 extras, he said, and Nickelodeon Studios and Paramount+ is expected to release it at the end of this year.
“It shines a light on the creative economy of Rhode Island,” Feinberg said. “It’s great for our local crew and our local talent pool. There will be eyeballs from all over waiting and watching for ‘Good Burger 2.’ ”
The announcement came on the same day that Hollywood movie and television writers went on strike, bringing many productions to a halt and dealing a blow to an industry that has been rocked in recent years by the pandemic and sweeping technological shifts.
Feinberg, who has been a member of the Writers Guild of America since 1987, said he does not expect the strike to affect the local production.
“I’ve been told picket lines will be around studios and networks and not around productions, especially productions on locations,” he said. “Union folks tend not to cross picket lines, but I don’t believe there will be picket lines around this production or most productions that are on location.”
The production might not turn North Providence into the next Hollywood, but Mayor Charles A. Lombardi said he is happy to have the film crew coming to town. “We are excited about it,” he said. “It’s creating a pretty active buzz around town. I am just hoping they will think of utilizing some of our residents as fill-ins.”
Lombardi said he had not thought of trying out for a role in the film. “I enjoy what I do,” he said with a laugh.
In addition to filming at the former Friendly’s, the production company plans to lease the town’s former police and fire station on Mineral Spring Avenue for at least two months, Lombardi said, though he wasn’t sure for what purpose. “We’ve been very accommodating,” he said. “I hope they come back.”
Feinberg said the production will include locations in other parts of Rhode Island as well as the North Providence site.
Last year, Rhode Islanders watched witches flying over Federal Hill as part of the filming of “Hocus Pocus 2,″ and film crews captured the grandeur of a Newport mansion for the second season of HBO’s “The Gilded Age.”
The Film & Television Office uses motion picture production film tax credits to try to bring film crews to Rhode Island. To qualify, productions must shoot at least 51 percent of a film in Rhode Island or spend $10 million in a 12-month period, and this film is being shot 100 percent in Rhode Island, Feinberg said. The motion picture tax credit is 30 percent of the state-certified production costs incurred in Rhode Island.
Last year, the Rhode Island Office of Revenue Analysis issued a report saying the state’s tax credit program fails to break even, its goals are “vague,” and data reporting requirements “lead to inconsistent and unreliable data on program performance.”
But Feinberg strongly disagreed, saying the report contained “miscalculations” and “omissions.” He said Industrial Economics, a company based in Cambridge, Mass., produced a report in March saying that every $1 in film tax credits generated $5.44 in economic activity, and that the benefit extended to nearly every city and town in the state.
The original “Good Burger” film told the story of teenager Dexter Reed and his cashier coworker, Ed, as they try to save their restaurant after a new burger chain opens across the street. In the sequel, Dexter is down on his luck but Ed welcomes him back to Good Burger, giving him his old job back.
“While working with a zany new group of employees, Dex devises a plan to get back on his feet but unfortunately puts the fate of Good Burger at risk once again,” the film office explained. “With a number of recognizable cameos anticipated, audience members will surely hear the iconic line of dialogue, ‘Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger – Can I take your order?’”
Tuesday’s announcement included quotes from top state officials.
“It’s great to see a new Nickelodeon and Paramount+ movie being made in Rhode Island – especially one that is fun, family-oriented, and showcases our beautiful state,” Governor Daniel J. McKee said. “Every time a production shoots here we see a positive impact on our local businesses. This is the type of energy that keeps moving our economy forward.”
House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat, welcomed Thompson, Mitchell, and the cast to Rhode Island. “The beauty of Rhode Island cities and towns will be supporting characters alongside the talented actors and actresses who will be propelling this special production. I eagerly await the positive recognition and tourism that this production will bring to our state.”
State Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, a North Providence Democrat, said, “Our small, compact size makes us accessible both in terms of coordinating with state and local agencies and businesses, and in working at locations ranging from city streets and historic homes and mansions to the shore and peaceful woodlands. We warmly welcome “Good Burger 2″ to Rhode Island and greatly anticipate seeing our state grace the screen once again.”
Anyone interested in being part of the film can submit an application through Boston Casting’s website.