'Purge 3' begins shooting in Rhode Island

Main Street in Woonsocket doubles as Washington, D.C., in the near future on the first day of shooting the movie "Purge 3," Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015.

Wednesday was the first day of shooting the futuristic thriller "Purge 3" in Rhode Island.{} Hollywood brings money in to the local economy, but the Ocean State is also competing with Massachusetts for the business.

Main Street in Woonsocket becomes Washington, D.C., in the near future, where "The Purge," 12 hours of lawlessness, helps thin the criminal herd, although no police, fire, or politicians can be touched.{} That's the law.{}

In "Purge 3: Assassins," according to Steven Feinberg, head of the Rhode Island Film and TV Office, "Let's just say there's a band of folks that are trying to stop this purge holiday from happening."

Rhode Island offers a 25 percent tax credit to movie productions to bring business here. But there's a $15 million tax-free production cap each year in the Ocean State. According to a URI study, says Feinberg, "For every dollar we spend in tax credits, that brings $8 of economic activity; 8-to-1 is a pretty good return on the investment.{} There's no cap on the Massachusetts program.{} So in other words, Massachusetts was just able to do 'Ghostbusters 3,' which might be $150 million to $200 million production."

Between crew and extras, there are a total of 900 people who are now getting a paycheck locally because "The Purge" is in town.

Melvin Hollis drove up from North Smithfield, a big "Purge" fan.

"I hope to see a lot of filming. I hope to see some actors, and I'm hoping to get a scene as an extra," Hollis said.

The Quickmart on North Main Street has been transformed into "Joe's Deli." That shop is making money, paid for its space by the production.

While there's a temporary lull in business on the rest of Main Street where pedestrian access is cut off during the shoot, local businesses for the most part are happy to have the brush with the big screen.

Tammy Irwin co-owns Timeless Antiques and Collectibles, just down from Wednesday's production. Usually, 30 percent of the store's business is online. Wednesday, it was 99 percent.

Even so, she said, "I like it, I like it. Brings a little excitement to the street."

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