Storage containers on the silver screen? Most of us have probably never given it a second thought. And yet storage containers crop up in many of our favourite films throughout the decades. So let’s take a look at where, why and how this somewhat unusually popular movie prop has been used, in films ranging from Pirates of the Caribbean to Batman Begins.
Versatile and easy to move around, cheap (especially in the grand scheme of film budgets), and oddly pleasing to look at when a range of colours are stacked up together, shipping containers have long been a popular film prop. Even Empire magazine – whose writers are arguably not so concerned with storage containers in their day-to-day lives and therefore less likely to keep an eye out for them – have picked up on it, naming the use of shipping containers in films an unlikely trend thanks to their recent appearances in Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, All Is Lost, Captain Phillips and Welcome to the Punch.
Batman Begins sees the Dark Knight stalk villains in a gritty-looking maze of metal boxes, The A-Team reboot movie sees a few in the background of the ridiculous final shootout, and in Lethal Weapon 2 a shipping container becomes a grisly plot device when it’s used to squash the bad guy at the end – not a use we advocate at Mobile Mini! We’d much prefer a ridiculous dance-off, like the one found in Step Up Revolution.
Storage containers also play an important supporting role in movies. For example, the Smallville high-street in Man of Steel was constructed from 24 containers converted to look like shop fronts, and a giant ship for the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film was built behind a colossal wall of shipping containers to keep the prying eyes of the public away.
Elsewhere, converted storage containers are regularly used as temporary offices, dressing rooms or catering facilities for on-location shoots. Secure, weather-proof and versatile, they also provide ideal storage for props and scenery for both film studios and theatres.
So here’s to the humble storage container, unsung hero of the silver screen. They may never win an academy award, but they continue to provide an invaluable resource to countless productions.
If you have any questions about using storage containers for theatre or film productions, please do not hesitate to contact us, and we will be happy to help.