BOMA/Chicago’s Blockbuster Buildings

Transformers' Bumble Bee flies by Willis Tower

This summer’s big-screen blockbuster season is all about Chicago. You might remember when the Autobots and Decepticons took over Chicago’s Central Business District last summer to film Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, which debuted in theaters this week.

Check out the trailer to see some of BOMA/Chicago’s building members get “destroyed” in the final installation of the Transformers trilogy. Just when the Transformers craze has begun to die down, “Superman: Man of Steel” will begin production in Chicago this August.

During  the past few years, Chicago’s downtown buildings have provided a dramatic backdrop for major motion pictures, including:

Why do notable film directors like Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay and Christopher Nolan choose to film in Chicago?  One answer: The dramatic Chicago skyline, defined by historic architecture and iconic modern office towers.

In addition to showcasing Chicago’s downtown buildings on an international scale, there are significant economic benefits that continue to attract the film production industry to Chicago.

The film industry directly and indirectly benefits both the local and state economy. “What all productions do is spend money. They hire local crew people, they hire the services of local businesses, they buy goods from local vendors, they stay in hotels. They become a rather mobile, portable, invisible factory,” said Rich Moskal, director of the Chicago Film Office, said in an interview last year with the Chicago Loopster/Medill News Service.

A scene from Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon in downtown Chicago

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, Illinois has the fifth-most direct production jobs in America — more than 7,500 direct production jobs and $430 million in related wages. Illinois is also in the top five state for production-related businesses, with more than 1,500 businesses specifically dedicated to the production industry.

This infographic from Crain’s Chicago Business shows the economic impact of films produced in Illinois. 2011 looks like it may be the best year yet!

To date, more than 700 movies have been at least partially shot in Chicago. What are your favorite films that feature Chicago buildings? What else can the city and business community do to encourage more film production here? Has your building been featured in a vintage or recent film?

Leave comments and let us know.

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About BOMA/Chicago

The voice of Chicago's office building industry since 1902.
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5 Responses to BOMA/Chicago’s Blockbuster Buildings

  1. Did you catch the Trib infographic showing the $8B in fake damage done to the city by the Decepticons in the new movie? http://trib.in/ihXxYB

    They mention a “fictitious” office building that appears to be 300 North LaSalle, but it has been relocated a few blocks east. You can make it out around the 2:10 mark of one of the movie trailers – http://bit.ly/mJKv1F.

    • BOMA/Chicago says:

      Hello: Thanks for your message. Yes, we did read — with interest — the very interesting piece in today’s Chicago Tribune. We envision the city will sustain some more serious “celluloid damage” during the making of the new Superman film.

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