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Lake Havasu fears 'Piranha 3D' could take a bite out of tourism

August 18, 2010 |  4:33 pm

Pr-512x769 “Piranha 3D,” out Friday, is set on “Lake Victoria” – a fictional popular tourist destination where spring breakers find themselves attacked by vicious fish. But city officials in the region where the film was shot, Lake Havasu -- which borders Arizona and California – are fearful that moviegoers might recognize the vacation spot in the horror film and be led to believe piranhas actually exist in local waters. 

At least that was the sentiment conveyed by the city's publicist, Jeff Blumenfeld, who called us somewhat frantically Wednesday morning to express concern over the movie.

“We’re gritting our teeth -- we’re just hoping that the reaction is a good one for the city,” he said.

While it might seem preposterous that tourists could truly believe that there are piranhas swimming around Lake Havasu, some local hotel owners say they've already encountered a few nervous patrons.

“One woman was bringing up to me that the movie was coming out, and she asked – as serious as serious can be – ‘Oh, but are there still piranha in the lake?’ ” recalled Cal Sheehy, general manager of the London Bridge Resort, which is right on Lake Havasu. “At first, I kind of took it as a joke. But then I let her know that that’s the computer-generated part of the movie. And she was very relieved, saying, ‘Oh, I’m so glad to hear that.’ ”

Vern Porter, of the Nautical Beachfront Resort, has been joking with his guests that he “hopes they took all of the piranhas out when they finished the movie,” but can’t imagine anyone would take the threat of killer fish seriously.

Still, city spokesman Blumenfeld thinks that anyone who sees "Piranha 3D" could easily make a correlation between the lake in the movie and Havasu.

"It's Arizona's worst-kept secret," he said. "If you Google Lake Havasu, 'piranha' shows up. And people can easily recognize Havasu in the movie -- they've got some of our big spots, like the Bridgewater Channel. When you look at the scenery, it's pretty distinctive -- that kind of desert, water, mountains."

That's not to say Havasu is getting too worked up about the negative effect the film could have on the area. Blumenfeld admits the movie will likely have a more positive impact than anything -- it brought $18 million in during production, and some residents were even cast as extras in the film. There's also a local premiere being held Friday, where clothing and props from the movie will be auctioned off to benefit a nearby sports park.

"We're not quaking in our boots," said Blumenfeld. "We just hope the movie opens up to the scenery beyond the blood in the water."

As for the most dangerous creatures actually residing in the murky depths of Lake Havasu?

“You do have to watch out for drunken boaters," he said. "We don’t have sharks. The blue fish won’t bite you. And we haven’t see any piranha.” 

--Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Tourists are attacked by vicious fish in a scene from "Piranha 3D." Credit: Gene Page/The Weinstein Co.

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Comments () | Archives (15)

The comments to this entry are closed.

bs, i saw them eat 3 cows, a pig and 6 popcicles in the blink of a eye. hide your babys.

are you kidding me? anyone that thinks that needs to be kept in a rubber padded room.

Jesus Christ, do they really think people are that dumb? People should know the difference between a movie, and real life. If not, they should not be allowed to raise children.

Also, that movie looks like it's the dumbest movie ever.

Who DOESN'T want to see spring break d-bags in Ed Hardy getting eaten up by piranha while listening to bad techno?

Michael, actually, people ARE that dumb. If you don't believe me, read the comments people write after every news article in Yahoo!

Please! Next, the idiots will by saying our president is a Muslim! Oh, wait a minute...

Havi-who? Nobody knows about this town. This awesome movie will only increase the towns popularity INTERNATIONALLY and any numbskull who travels there probably knows the Piranhas only attack when you piss them off.

Hmmm... sounds like a cover-up, just like in the movie "Jaws."

I lived in Havasu for years. It's an amazing town, and it's already been a major hots spot for spring break and 3-day weekends for years. Based on the irritating tourists who show up for that, the definitely ARE that dumb. And yes this movie looks completely cheesy, but I'll definitely see it since it's my hometown.

@Rodney Dischtt: Lake Havasu is where the LONDON BRIDGE is. Yes, people know about this town, it's quite the tourist spot. You must have failed in geography class in school I'm guessing.

Any tourists who might be dissuaded should easily be offset by those young men who now believe the lake is stocked with Kelly Brook.

No we do not, we actually are thinking it will HELP tourism here...

Being most of hte comments here seem to not be able to read the full article....

"That's not to say Havasu is getting too worked up about the negative effect the film could have on the area. Blumenfeld admits the movie will likely have a more positive impact than anything -- it brought $18 million in during production, and some residents were even cast as extras in the film. There's also a local premiere being held Friday, where clothing and props from the movie will be auctioned off to benefit a nearby sports park."

Stop dividing by zero. We are happy to the have the business, and trust me, the only and I mean ONLY possible negative impact this could have is more scantily clad ladies slowing traffic.

I was living in Havasu last summer when this movie was made. It was the talk of the town and all the kids were hoping to be extras in the movie.

It gave the local teens some extra income and a chance to have fun.

I hope they do it again.

This could be a great revival of the past piranha movie. I think this movie will going to be great because they used 3d effects.

It is a films. name pirana 3d kam aghlaaa


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