About half of the show’s scenes were filmed around Baltimore, with the other half on a soundstage about 20 miles north, in Edgewood in Harford County. Thanks to the number of episodes ordered and the elaborate size of the production, the Maryland Film Office is thrilled with the economic boost to the state, from the number of local hires to the Maryland vendors used during filming.
“When all is said and done, it will probably be the largest production that has ever shot in Maryland,” said Jack Gerbes, director of the Maryland Film Office. “We’re still running numbers . . . but it was just an amazing production, the sheer size and scale and scope of it.”
For example, he said, while they don’t have the final numbers, the first season of HBO’s vice-presidential comedy “Veep” shot for around 40 days and hired 978 people from Maryland. “House of Cards” went at least 100 days longer, built more sets and had a larger crew.
Gerbes is looking forward to the impact that the show might have on bringing positive publicity and more productions to the state, which would mean financial gains and work for local crews. (Hey, people still try to find the Eastern Shore location where “Wedding Crashers” was filmed.)
The “House of Cards” crew will be back in Maryland in March to begin work on the second season. In the meantime, they’ll see how audiences respond Friday, though Sarandos points out they aren’t in the traditional ratings game of seeing how a premiere does on the first day. Since the “House of Cards” will be available indefinitely, they have to take into account that some people may choose to watch all the episodes at once — but that may be a year from now.
Netflix doesn’t publish ratings — because the company is not in the advertising sales business — so it would be an “apples and oranges” comparison to get into ratings race with broadcast and cable television, Sarandos said. Instead, Netflix will use its internal metrics to determine if the show is successful.
Meanwhile, Willimon said he hopes giving viewers the power to choose their watching experience, either as a weekly show or even a 13-hour movie, will bring them back for more.
Then Willimon quickly corrected himself. “ ‘Bring back’ isn’t the right syntax,” he said. “More like, ‘Click on the next episode.’ ”
House of Cards
(one hour) is available to Netflix subscribers beginning Friday.