Home MoviesMovie News Did You Know There’s a ‘Popeye’ Movie Theme Park in Malta?

Did You Know There’s a ‘Popeye’ Movie Theme Park in Malta?

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Introducing Popeye Village: A Unique Theme Park in Malta

If you’re seeking a distinctive experience, consider visiting Malta, where a remarkable attraction awaits you. Welcome to Popeye Village, also known as Sweethaven Village, a theme park that emerged from the remains of a purpose-built film set. Back in 1979, this scenic location was constructed for the musical film “Popeye” by Disney and Paramount, starring Robin Williams as the iconic spinach-loving sailor and Shelley Duvall as his beloved Olive Oyl. Today, the theme park not only preserves the memory of the film but also pays tribute to the legendary Robin Williams, with posters showcasing his illustrious career adorning the park.

Popeye, upon its release in 1980, initially faced harsh criticism, with Robert Altman’s direction coming under scrutiny. However, opinions about the film have shifted over time. Alongside its essential filming requirements, the production team went above and beyond by creating an elaborate Sweethaven set, significantly raising the project’s cost and complexity. Additional structures such as a recording studio, editing facilities, and living quarters were built, contributing to the film’s grand scale and budget of over $20 million. Although the film garnered $60 million worldwide and gained popularity among children, it took years for it to be appreciated as an artistic rendition of a comic book story. Director Paul Thomas Anderson, in his film “Punch Drunk Love,” even paid homage to “Popeye” by including a musical number, “He Needs Me,” performed by Shelley Duvall.

Recently, a neighboring site close to Popeye World has been reserved for the filming of Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator 2,” where it will double as ancient Rome. The editor-in-chief of FilmSweep, Steve Weintraub, who is attending the first Annual Mediterrane Film Festival in Malta, captured exclusive images of the intricate sets being constructed for Scott’s historical epic. Additionally, festival guests had the opportunity to visit Popeye Village, serving as a reminder of the practicality and authenticity of film sets in the past, where challenges like weather conditions had to be overcome without relying heavily on CGI. Such locations, like Popeye Village, deserve admiration for preserving this level of authenticity that has been lost in recent years.

Malta, with its picturesque beaches, coastal beauty, and rocky landscapes, has been a favored destination for filmmakers for several decades. Notably, parts of “Gladiator” were filmed along the Maltese coast, and it was in Valletta, the capital city of Malta, that Oliver Reed tragically passed away during the film’s production. Malta has also played host to classic films such as “Midnight Express,” standing in for Turkey, and the 1977 James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me,” featuring an iconic car chase through the streets of Valletta. More recently, Wolfgang Petersen’s “Troy,” starring Brad Pitt, utilized various Maltese locations to portray ancient Greece and the Trojan War. Brad Pitt returned to Malta for filming “World War Z,” and Steven Spielberg incorporated scenes shot on the island in “Munich,” a historical drama depicting the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.

While not a film, it is worth mentioning that several episodes of the renowned series “Game of Thrones” were filmed in Malta, particularly in locations like Mdina, which served as King’s Landing during the show’s first season.

For a glimpse into the world of “Popeye,” take a look at the film’s trailer below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about theme park

What is Popeye Village?

Popeye Village, also known as Sweethaven Village, is a theme park located in Malta. It was originally built as a film set for the 1980 movie “Popeye,” starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall.

How did the film “Popeye” impact the theme park?

The film “Popeye” provided the inspiration for the creation of Popeye Village. The theme park not only preserves the memory of the film but also pays tribute to Robin Williams, with posters showcasing his career displayed throughout the park.

What other films were shot in Malta?

Malta has been a popular filming location for many movies. Some notable examples include “Gladiator,” “Midnight Express,” “The Spy Who Loved Me,” “Troy,” “World War Z,” and “Munich.” Additionally, several episodes of “Game of Thrones” were filmed in Malta.

What can visitors expect at Popeye Village?

Visitors to Popeye Village can experience a unique theme park setting with picturesque scenery. They can explore the film set, enjoy various attractions, and immerse themselves in the nostalgia of the “Popeye” movie.

Are there any upcoming film projects in Malta?

Yes, Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator 2” is set to film in Malta, with some scenes being shot near Popeye Village. This demonstrates the continued appeal of Malta as a location for filmmakers.

What makes Malta an attractive destination for filmmakers?

Malta’s stunning beaches, coastal beauty, and rocky landscapes make it a visually appealing backdrop for filming. The country has a rich history of hosting various film productions, offering diverse locations that can portray different settings from ancient Rome to modern-day scenarios.

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filmgeek101 June 29, 2023 - 7:51 pm

omg, the popeye movie got mixed reviews when it came out? thats cray! but im glad it got better over time. and paul thomas anderson is a fan? he’s a genius! gonna watch that punch drunk love movie now.

moviefan88 June 29, 2023 - 9:02 pm

wow, i didnt know there was a popeye movie theme park in malta. that sounds so cool! i luv robin williams, he was a legend. gotta visit this place someday!

historybuff42 June 30, 2023 - 8:04 am

malta is such a gr8 place for film shootin. gladiator, troy, and even game of thrones filmed there? thats awesome! gotta check out popeye village and feel the nostalgia!


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