"Transformers" turns Michigan Ave. into CTA wasteland starting Thursday night

"Transformers" turns Michigan Ave. into CTA wasteland starting Thursday night

If you rely on Michigan Avenue buses to get to work, school or play, consider taking the day off or changing plans Friday. Or at least plan for a longer commute.

Filming for the movie “Transformers 3” will shut down the Mag Mile from 8 p.m. Thursday until 5 a.m. Monday between Ontario Street and Wacker Drive. Lower Michigan Avenue will be closed from 8 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday from Lower Wacker Drive to Hubbard Street.

The street closures will affect 22 bus routes. Gulp. The CTA also warns at the bottom of that same page that “estimated arrival times for buses that are temporarily rerouted may not
be available via the Bus Tracker web site.” So, be warned.

I was very critical of closing Michigan Avenue for Oprah’s anniversary show last year. It seems like I should be critical of this, but I’m not. It might have something to do with the $20 million boost to the economy that this film shoot gives Chicago.

Transformers cars.jpg

(Photo from Cars.com via Chicago Tribune)


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  • Well, Oprah was good for Michigan Ave. businesses, too, they reported.

    Maybe the real question is that the streets can no longer be assumed to have a transportation function, given these shoots, plus all the parades, ethnic food festivals, the President visiting his home adjacent to Hyde Park Blvd., and helicopter lifts. According to the congestion reduction people, that is o.k. when it discourages driving, not so when the CTA gets rerouted.

  • So why is it that filmmakers can spend huge sums animating the characters, but can't come up with CGI landscapes and cities for them to interact with? Sorry, Kevin, I disagree with you; $20 million isn't enough for this crap, and it's just going to vanish anyway.

  • In reply to BobS:

    Real visual effects look...well real. Personally I like seeing stuff like that in films. CG environments still look CG (no matter how awesome everyone says Avatar was).

    Just treat the commute like any other "construction" reroute. They'll be gone in August.

  • In reply to Nash:

    Oh please. Well over a hundred thousand people -- that's CTA bus ridership *alone* -- inconvenienced (and hospitals and medical facilities made significantly harder to reach, particularly from the South and West Sides) so you can have an self-involved, navel-gazing preference as to your disdain for "CG environments." (Yet you seem not to mind CG *characters.) Tell ya what, Sparky, since I work right where security's going to be tightest, how 'bout you run next door and get me some Starbucks until August?

  • In reply to BobS:

    So the millions of dollars being injected into the economy, the number of temporary jobs movies create, the number of people that will obtain some level of enjoyment from watching the movie, the many folks who work for movie theatre chains, they all suck because you have to leave a little early for work, and wait an extra 2-3 minutes for a cup of coffee? Get over yourself. Downtown will continue to function regardless, you'll still get your coffee, and you'll survive.

  • In reply to BobS:

    Congratulations, we have our jerk of the day here!

  • In reply to Nirvana911:

    Ha. It's a "title" I happily accept given that the disadvantages weigh the advantages David claims. CGI's more expensive -- if you want temporary jobs and dollars pumped into the economy, do it right and do it on your server farm. The "people that will obtain some level of enjoyment from watching the movie" and "the many folks who work for movie theatre chains" wouldn't notice the difference. The folks in the backs of ambulances and the hundreds of thousands of people who have to work around this would. Sorry, it's no different from Oprah -- in fact, this is the third time this year residents and workers have dealt with this.

  • In reply to BobS:

    Don't believe the bullshit about how much money is injected into the local economy!
    Illinois got into that asinine race to the bottom by giving film makers enormous tax breaks when they come here. So have several other states.
    Because of these tax breaks, very little money is added to the overall supply here.
    Basically it's a wash, with the producers getting away like bandits!
    If you want to steal a few bucks, rob a bank with a gun.
    If you want to steal millions, pay off the legislature!

  • I'm taking Sunday off because even though this is south of work, it's just south of work. I'm also taking the Sunday of the Air and Water Show off.

  • i'm a full supporter of all non-vince vaughn chicago movie shoots.

  • In reply to mickcube:

    I almost agree with you but...Transformers? Come on.

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