Photo courtesy of RI Film Office
‘90s movie nostalgia is alive and well in Rhode Island. 2021 saw the resurrection of the Sanderson sisters for the filming of Hocus Pocus 2. And this year, Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell reprised their roles of Dexter and Ed for the filming of Good Burger 2 in the Ocean State.
In 1997, Dexter and Ed were two burger joint employees with a penchant for hijinks and a lucrative special sauce. Dexter was a slacker. Ed liked to sing and rollerblade. They drove a burger mobile. Sinbad was in it and so was Carmen Electra. It was Good Burger, Home of the Good Burger and everything was good — Good Fries, Good Pies, Good Tacos, Good Chunks — everything except those Mondo Burger villains across the street.
Filming of Good Burger 2 wrapped in mid-June and took place in locations throughout Rhode Island, including: Providence, Warwick, and East Greenwich. The old Friendly’s on Mineral Spring Ave. in North Providence was transformed into the Good Burger restaurant, the Good Burger mobile was spotted driving down Blackstone Boulevard, and Carmen Electra was seen reprising her role as the wickedly seductive Roxanne.
Rhode Island’s motion picture tax credit incentive has been a major driver for Hollywood studios to film in the Ocean State. For every one dollar spent on the ground in Rhode Island, studios receive 30 cents in the form of a transferable tax credit.
“If they have a local tax liability, they can apply it directly to that but if they don’t, say if they’re a California studio, they can sell it to somebody local who has a Rhode Island tax liability,” said Carol Conley of the Rhode Island Film and TV Office. “They get money back for their dollar, that means they can have higher production values for less money. So that’s a great economic driver and that was all Steve.”
Steve being Steven Feinberg, the executive director of the Rhode Island Film & TV Office. Both Feinberg and Conley began working at the RI Film & TV Office in 2004, and since then the office has generated over $800 million worth of production in the state.
“There was an economic study done that said for every dollar we pay out in a motion picture tax credit, we get back $5.44 worth of economic activity back to the state,” said Conley. “That’s heads in beds at hotels, that’s restaurants, caterers, lumber stores, antique stores that provide props. Everything.”
The transferable tax credit is a major draw for Hollywood studios, but according to Conley so is the one-stop shop nature of Rhode Island and its welcoming citizens.
“Steve coined the phrase: We’re the smallest state with the greatest backlot. It’s very easy to film here because time is money. A production can be at a beach in the morning, in a beautiful urban setting in the afternoon, and on a horse farm at night. They’re not spending hours and hours traveling between locations. We’re a one-stop shop… The citizens and the businesses in Rhode Island are so welcoming to film crews and productions, whether it’s a tiny student production or a huge studio production like Hocus Pocus 2, they’ve been welcomed with open arms. The citizenship has made it very easy for productions to want to film here and want to come back.”
Purportedly in Good Burger 2, Dexter has fallen on hard times and returns to Good Burger looking for work. Ed, however, never left, he works as the manager. Hopefully, the sequel will elicit singing while rollerblading and an outspoken love for orange soda, but what type of shenanigans the duo will get up to this time around remains to be seen. However, we won’t have to wait long.
“They want to have it released by Christmas,” said Conley. “Usually it takes about a year but in this case they want to get it done in six months.”
The Nickelodeon-produced Good Burger 2 is scheduled to be released later this year on streaming service Paramount+.