Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Sylvester Stallone new film ‘Alarum’ sparks community interest in Oxford

Dozens of students and community members gathered in hopes they would see Sylvester Stallone.
Dozens of students and community members gathered in hopes they would see Sylvester Stallone.

Oxford residents and Miami University students who went Uptown Feb. 27 and 28 might have been disappointed to see areas like the park and Left Field Tavern blocked off by yellow tape. But for others, it was an exciting day to crowd the sidewalks, hoping for a chance to see a film production and its stars in town.

In mid-February, Oxford residents noticed what looked like a crashed plane in Hueston Woods. At the Feb. 20 Oxford City Council meeting, assistant city manager Jessica Greene confirmed Sylvester Stallone’s newest movie “Alarum” would be filming throughout the city. 

“It has definitely sparked a lot of interest in the community,” said Sally Roi, operations manager for Enjoy Oxford. “You can just look, scroll on Facebook and see how interested people are in it.”

The production soon affected Roi as the film’s crew transformed the West Park Place building, her office space, into a bait and tackle shop. While the crew was setting up, Roi struck up conversations with one of the film’s art directors, Travis Zariwny.

“He was like, ‘Yeah, I’m a film director as well,’ so we looked him up on IMDb,” Roi said. “And he was like, ‘I actually brought it up because I’d be happy to do a screening if you guys would be able to get that together.’”

On a quick turnaround, the Enjoy Oxford team arranged a Q&A screening of Zariwny’s horror film “Cabin Fever” for Friday, March 1. The screening takes place at 7 p.m. at the Oxford Community Arts Center.

This event is just one of the side effects that can come with a production’s visit. Seth Cropenbaker, economic development specialist for Oxford, said movies like this can bring small economic benefits.

“As far as direct benefit, there’s a little bit of revenue through the churn,” Cropenbaker said. “Folks being in town, whether it’s staying in hotels and going to restaurants and things like that, folks who are directly associated, affiliated with the filming of the movie.”

However, Cropenbaker also said that the existence of this production doesn’t necessarily mean more movies will come to town.

“I don’t know that Oxford is going to become a filming Mecca,” Cropenbaker said. “Oxford certainly presents itself well depending on what someone wants to do. The state of Ohio is trying to encourage the movie industry to use sites across the state with some various tax credits.”

Photo by Luke Macy | The Miami Student
Stallone and who was likely his stunt double were seen filming on Wednesday afternoon.

As studios start looking outside California when making films, Ohio attracts productions through its tax credit breaks, which offer up to 30% of a film’s budget in refundable tax credits. “Alarum” received an estimated value of $5.9 million, denoting a budget of at least $20 million.

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

Stallone will return to Ohio later this spring for his film “The Epiphany,” according to tax credit information. The tax credit database also notes that a Warner Bros. feature film could be filming nearby soon in Cincinnati, rumored to be James Gunn’s “Superman: Legacy.” Cincinnati was ranked number 11 for cities for filming from MovieMaker magazine.

This isn’t the first time a film has come to Oxford. In May 2022, John Green brought the film adaptation of “Turtles All the Way Down.” Viewers might also recognize shots of Miami University in George Clooney’s “The Ides of March.”

Even though Roi had to relocate for the week, she said production hasn’t impeded much.

“The crew has been pretty respectful,” Roi said. “Pretty much all of the businesses are still open. There might be delays, but I think that with such a rare opportunity, at least from my perspective, everyone’s been very OK with any delays they’ve had to have.”

“Alarum” doesn’t have a release date yet. IMDb lists that the film is about a spy rogue couple that must flee their honeymoon cabin after being discovered by the CIA. The film is directed by Michael Polish, who last directed the Daily Wire film “Terror on the Prairie.”