The M3GAN production used numerous locations to stand in for the film’s setting of Seattle, Washington. The sci-fi-horror film, written by Malignant co-writers James Wan and Akela Cooper, follows Gemma (Allison Williams), a roboticist who engages a prototype AI helper robot, M3GAN, to help care for her orphaned niece. The film is a heightened horror romp that sees M3GAN wreak murderous havoc across numerous locales, including the offices of fictional toy company Funki, in which M3GAN performs her now-iconic dance.
The modestly budgeted sci-fi horror film was initially meant to shoot in Montreal, Canada until the COVID-19 pandemic obliged the production to change locations. The film was a co-production of Atomic Monster, James Wan’s production company, and Blumhouse. M3GAN was a box office smash for both companies, thanks in part to its viral marketing campaign, and Atomic Monster and Blumhouse are expected to return to co-produce a sequel, reportedly titled M3GAN 2.0.
Auckland, New Zealand
The bulk of M3GAN was shot in Auckland, New Zealand, with the intention of creating a “Denver, Colorado type feel” according to a Blumhouse higher-up (via KFTV). Blumhouse had previously shot Black Christmas in New Zealand and chose to continue using local Kiwi crews after a positive experience making the film. M3GAN’s director, Gerard Johnstone, is a New Zealand native, as is Amie Donald, who plays the M3GAN doll. At the time of filming, the COVID-19 pandemic was still raging, but New Zealand was still relatively COVID-free. In an interview, M3GAN star Allison Williams explains that the non-native cast and crew were asked to isolate for two weeks on arrival.
The production team shot several scenes at the Auckland University of Technology; the university’s foyer was used as the main atrium of fictional tech company Funki, as confirmed in a post from M3GAN director Gerard Johnstone.
Johnstone’s Instagram also confirms that some of the film’s most memorable scenes were shot in Auckland. Auckland-tagged posts show that the production filmed M3GAN’s hallway dance scene in Auckland, as well as the scenes in Gemma’s workspace, Gemma’s office at Funki and the white chamber in which M3GAN and Cady first meet. The exterior scnes of Jemma’s house were shot in the Auckland suburb of Sunnyhills, and Cornwall Park was likely the location of the woods scene in which M3GAN attacks Cady’s bully, Brandon. Some scenes were also shot on Auckland’s One Tree Hill Island and Auckland ShowgrOunds.
Los Angeles, California
While the core M3GAN cast and crew were shooting in Auckland, the production was simultaneously shooting in Los Angeles, California. Both co-production companies on the film, Blumhouse and Atomic Monster, are based in LA. The absence of the main cast implies that no major scenes were shot in the city, with the majority of the LA production likely involving inserts, establishing shots and other second unit photography. The LA climate’s lack of similarity to Seattle means that the production would have had difficulty filming exterior shots in the city.
Poughkeepsie, New York
Poughkeepsie, in the Hudson valley region of New York, was another M3GAN filming location. The area, with its lush greenery, low-rise neighborhoods and mild climate, would be more fitting for exterior shots than Los Angeles. Chances are good that outside reshoots and inserts were filmed in Poughkeepsie. The area is also home to several film studios, in which interior scenes could have been shot. Poughkeepsie has been the site of several other major Hollywood projects, including White House Plumbers, Super Troopers and Frances Ha.