Featuring in blockbusters is a fantastic free advert

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STEVE CANAVAN: Making a molehill out of Malcolm, my very minor ailment

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First it was Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe heading to Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard and naval base to film scenes for the movie version of highly-acclaimed musical Les Miserables (out this week).

Now we learn fellow Hollywood A-lister Tom Cruise has also been in the city, looking for possible locations for his forthcoming science fiction film All You Need Is Kill.

In true big star style, he apparently block-booked 200 rooms at an unidentified Hampshire hotel for the production crew to stay for three days.

Having such global names here can only be good news for Portsmouth’s image. There’s plenty of kudos in the city being picked as a backdrop for blockbusters, but there’s also a major benefit to the local economy.

First, there’s the question of looking after the film crews, something that added around £3m to the county’s economy in 2012 alone. Latest Bond film Skyfall was one of several big budget projects to feature scenes shot in Hampshire.

Meanwhile Michelle McClean of the Hampshire County Council Film Unit says there have already been inquiries from the Marvel production company and another company about shooting a big feature film in Hampshire.

The film world is a fantastic showcase for what we have to offer in this part of the world and the spin-off means more people coming here to stay and spend their money on goods, services, attractions and accommodation.

How many people heading for the cinema to see Les Miserables this weekend will notice scenes shot in Portsmouth and be prompted to consider a visit?

We trust Mr Cruise found somewhere in the city to his liking and that it appears in his new movie too. Then even more cinema-goers will realise what we have to offer.

Tourism is so important to our city and our county, generating well over £2bn every year from visitors and employing more than 60,000 people.

Free adverts such as those provided by Les Miserables and, hopefully, All You Need Is Kill, can only help boost those figures still further.