It is an action adventure movie to the extreme. Lots of stuff gets blown up in the Transformers movies. Fortunately, most of that is computer generated so when the movie starts filming here next month the city will remain largely intact. In fact, city leaders say we will be better off to the tune of about 200 jobs and $200 million added to the local economy.
"It's not only a chance to showcase that we're a world class city but it also helps to secure our economic future," said Rich Moskal, Chicago Film Office.
But with that benefit comes sacrifice. Most movies shot in Chicago in recent years - the Dark Knight for example - do their filming in the overnight hours so there is little disruption to residents and traffic. Most of the Transformers shooting, however, will be in the daytime hours and that means significant street closures. For instance, LaSalle Street from Jackson to Randolph will be closed from Friday evening, July 9 through early morning on Monday, July 12. The Michigan Avenue bridge will be closed from Thursday evening, July 16 through early Monday, July 19. And Upper Wacker Drive between Michican and Wabash will be closed from Sunday evening, July 18 through early Thursday morning, July 22. Police expect it to go smoothly.
"We have the experience from the Dark Knight and Oprah," said Mike Rose, Chicago Police Department.
The business community also has that experience and with the Oprah season opening show on Michigan Avenue they say they experienced a dramatic increase in hotel, restaurant and tourism traffic.
Events that focus on the city of Chicago in the Magnificent Mile are invaluable marketing tools," said John Chico, North Michigan Avenue Association.The exact dates and street locations are still subject to change. The production company is hiring street ambassadors to help people get around. They also say people are welcome to come out to try to catch a glimpse of the filming. But they may be disappointed. Optimus Prime will not be making an appearance. He is computer generated.