On Location: Chicago film production soars

On Location: Chicago film production soars
Miranda Rae Mayo, from left, David Eigenberg, Jesse Spencer and Christian Stolte in “Chicago Fire,” one of four TV series from producer Dick Wolf that will be filming in Chicago. (Elizabeth Morris photo)
Nine Television Series Called Chicago Home Last Year and Contributed to Surge in Local Film Production Over the Last Six Years

The Chicago Film Office at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE)  announced yesterday that Chicago has experienced an increase in film production for 2016 of 25% from the previous year with an unprecedented 2339 film production days.

In other words, film production in Chicago is on fire. With NBC’s Chicago Fire franchise a big part of the picture bringing in the most viewers–as many as 10 million per episode

This year’s numbers continue a trend of yearly increases every year since 2011.

Whether Chicago has returned to the heyday of the glamour days of the early 20th century remains to be seen.

Barbara Stanwyck and her husband Robert Taylor, at Chicago's Morrison Hotel on Feb. 1, 1947 when it wasn't unusual to see glamorous stars of the times around town. Chicago Tribune

Barbara Stanwyck and her husband Robert Taylor, at Chicago’s Morrison Hotel on Feb. 1, 1947 when it wasn’t unusual to see glamorous stars of the times around town. Chicago Tribune

But we definitely are making progress, with Chicago recently named the #5 best city to live and work by MovieMaker Magazine.

TV series play a large role in the boom with an unprecedented nine full-time major series filming across the city’s neighborhoods including: NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” ”Chicago PD,” “Chicago Med” and FOX’s “Empire”–all of which have been renewed for additional seasons.

Empire filming on location at 353 Clark.

Empire filming on location at 353 Clark. Photo: Chicago Tribune

Other shows filming in town include “Chicago Justice,” FOX’s “The Exorcist” and “A.P.B.”

Then there’s “Easy” (Netflix) and “Patriot” (Amazon), two new original series for streaming channels, that were written, produced and directed by Chicago filmmakers Joe Swanberg and Steve Conrad, respectively.

Shameless films exterior scenes in Chicago like the Gallagher house on the 2100 block of South Homan Avenue

Shameless films exterior scenes in Chicago like the Gallagher house on the 2100 block of South Homan Avenue

“Shameless” (Showtime) and “Sense8” (Netflix) also returned in 2016, periodically, for several weeks of filming.

Portions of movies filmed in the city last year include: “Office Christmas Party” (Paramount), “Bad Santa 2” (Miramax) and “Death Wish” (MGM) along with a total of 18 independent features.

What does this mean for Chicago?

“Another year of record filming is proof positive that the film and television industries have found a new home in Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Chicago’s vibrant culture, state-of-the-art transportation systems, and skilled workforce make us a top destination for filming—whether it’s for big studio production or small budget indies. Each of these productions contributes to our neighborhoods and local economy, which is why we are committed to being a good partner to the film industry in an effort to attract more filming and jobs right here in Chicago.”

According to the Illinois Film Office–which awards a 30 percent tax credit to film–“the rise in Chicago filming and commercial production has boosted local spending and job creation, while increasing traffic for a wide range of local businesses generating an estimated $499 million in Illinois spending, a 51 percent increase over the previous year, and employed 13,377 non-extra job hires.”

Why Chicago?

“Chicago,” says Richard Moskal, Director of the Chicago Film Office, “offers a big, hard working, visually stunning environment. Producers, performers, technicians and a growing population of talented crew people call Chicago home for good reason. The city works.”

Subscribe to Show Me Chicago by email

If you would like to keep in touch with what’s happening in Chicago, like us on Facebook or subscribe to Show Me Chicago by email. To subscribe, type your email address in the box below and click the “create subscription” button. Our list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Filed under: Film

Leave a comment

  • Advertisement:
  • Advertisement:
  • ChicagoNow is full of win

    Welcome to ChicagoNow.

    Meet our bloggers,
    post comments, or
    pitch your blog idea.

  • Meet The Blogger

    Carole Kuhrt Brewer

    Arts, entertainment and dining journalist..

  • Follow me on Twitter.

  • Recent posts

  • Categories

  • Advertisement: