Wes Anderson's 'Moonrise Kingdom' Signs Second One-Year Agreement With Middletown for JFK School

The Town of Middletown has already received $24,750 in rental income for the JFK School from Feb. 28 to July 15, and the latest agreement would bring in an extra $500 per day for later short-term uses.

Producers for the Wes Anderson film have signed a second agreement with the Town of Middletown that would enable the filmmakers to have additional short-term rental access at the closed John F. Kennedy Elementary School for up to one year after the film production wraps early this summer.

Lynn Dible, finance director for the Town of Middletown, said the town received the finalized paperwork on Monday and that this latest locations agreement is separate and apart from the initial lease agreement for the JFK School. The closed school on West Main Road is serving mainly as the film’s primary base of operations and crew offices during the pre-production and principle photography phases.

Some classrooms within the JFK School will also be used as film sets, so the latest agreement would give the film company access to those locations again, should they need to shoot more footage there later, Dible said.

“If for any reason they need to come back to use that space again, they can come back within up to 12 months after principle photography,” Dible said.

The film’s producers have agreed to pay the Town of Middletown $500 per day to re-use the JFK School after the initial lease period expires July 15, so long as that space is still available and the town receives sufficient notice to accomodate them, Dible said.

Under the lease agreement, the production company is to occupy the south wing of the closed JFK School from Feb. 28 to July 15 at a rate of $5,500 per month, according to Dible. She said producers already paid Middletown the total $24,750 in full as one lump-sum payment.

After July 15, the producers can request week-to-week extensions at $1,375 per week for up to two one-week extensions, she said.

Meanwhile, the town is in talks with another potential tenant to rent out the north wing of the school who could take occupancy within the next few months, according to Dible and Town Administrator Shawn Brown.

Both declined to name the potential new tenant or nature of their business but said the lease term would be a longer term than the film company, possibly for a one-year lease.

The JFK School closed at the end of the 2008-2009 school year when Middletown consolidated grades K to 3 into the Forest Avenue and Aquidneck elementary schools.

Wes Anderson’s "Moonrise Kingdom" reportedly centers around a 1960s small town setting and involves a tale of young runaways and a Boy Scout camp.

Principle photography for the six-week film shoot reportedly is taking place at locations throughout Rhode Island, including in Middletown, Tiverton and Portsmouth.

Wes Anderson, whose previous films such as "The Fantastic Mr. Fox," "Rushmore" and others that have received much critical acclaim, is attached as a producer, co-writer and director. The film also has signed up A-list Hollywood actors like Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Ed Norton, and Frances McDormand, among others.


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