Photo courtesy of MCT
Iron Man, The Hulk and Captain America are all set to take over the Buckeye State.
The Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Film Commission announced Monday that filming on Paramount Pictures’ superhero flick “The Avengers” would take place in the Cincinnati area later this year. Gov. John Kasich announced on March 3 that “The Avengers” will also film in Cleveland.
“The Avengers,” set for release next year, is directed by Joss Whedon and will feature Marvel’s superstar characters Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk and Thor.
Despite Monday’s announcement, representatives for Marvel Entertainment said in an email that they could not confirm shooting would take place in Cincinnati, but did confirm they will shoot in Cleveland.
Specific shooting locations in Cincinnati were not confirmed, but will be within 30 miles of the city, according to a Monday report at cincinnati.com.
Calls to The Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Film Commission were not immediately returned.
It’s not clear yet when shooting will commence in Ohio, said Ivan Schwarz, executive director for The Greater Cleveland Film Commission.
“The Avengers” began shooting in New Mexico on April 26. Paramount is yet to announce when shooting will move to Ohio and for how long, though Schwarz expected it to be sometime in August.
This isn’t the first major film to shoot in Ohio in recent memory.
“The Ides of March,” directed by and starring George Clooney, filmed in the Cincinnati area for 3 1/2 weeks in February and March. Portions of the 2007 blockbuster “Spider-man 3,” also a Marvel property, were filmed in Cleveland.
Ohio has become an attractive site for movie studios because of the Ohio Film Tax Credit, Schwarz said.
Passed in 2009, the Ohio Film Tax Credit allows films that will spend more than $300,000 in Ohio a refundable tax credit which offers 25 percent off in-state spending and non-resident wages and 35 percent off Ohio wages.
Schwarz said the tax credit played the largest role in bringing “The Avengers” to Ohio.
“If it wasn’t for the incentive, (my ties) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.
Schwarz didn’t know how much money shooting “The Avengers” in Cleveland would contribute to the economy, but said it would be “significant.” “The Dark Knight,” for example, raised $45 million for the Chicago economy in 2008, according to chicagobusiness.com.
Boosting local economies isn’t the only benefit to location shooting in Ohio.
Bringing big films to Ohio also gives locals the chance to get involved with the movie industry, Schwarz said.
“It ties into a bigger picture,” he said. “We have three movies here right now, and the idea is to build an industry for the state of Ohio and people who want to work in this industry will not have to move from Ohio to work in the industry.”
Another Paramount Pictures film, “Fun Size,” starring Victoria Justice from the Nickelodeon show, “Zoey 101,” will shoot in Cleveland this year. “Boot Tracks,” a psychological thriller starring Matt Dillon and Michelle Monaghan, is also slated to begin filming in Cleveland soon.
In the midst of the “Avengers” news, one Ohio metropolitan has seemingly been left out: Columbus.
Gail Mezey, director of The Greater Columbus Film Commission, said she was glad “The Avengers” was bringing business to the state, but said a film on the scale of “The Avengers” won’t be coming to Columbus any time soon.
“We don’t really have the budget to go to the studios and do them here, where Cincinnati and Cleveland do have some of those budgets,” she said.
Mezey said Columbus has attracted a smaller film she could not name. The show “One Born Every Minute” on Lifetime was also filmed in Columbus, taking advantage of the tax credit, as well as commercials.
David Reyes, Jr., director of marketing for the Graphic Novel Club at OSU, said it would be nice to bring superheroes to Columbus.
“When it comes to Columbus, I know that it would be very difficult to do, but if somehow they were ever able to film something on campus it would be pretty awesome,” he said. “Seeing OSU on screen in some capacity would be a nice memory for current students to have.”
OSU students from Cleveland and Cincinnati had mixed reaction to the news.
David Chirdon, a fourth-year in history from Cleveland, is skeptical of “The Avengers” filming in his hometown.
“From a political aspect, I thought (bringing ‘The Avengers’ to Cleveland) was kind of ridiculous,” he said. “I don’t think that it’s really going to bring that much money into Cleveland.”
Ryan Clark, a third-year in chemical engineering from Cincinnati, was more optimistic.
“I think it’s pretty awesome,” he said. “It’ll be good for the city because Cincinnati’s been kind of struggling economically recently, so a big movie like that coming in and doing some shooting should give us some publicity worldwide, and that’d be good.”
“The Avengers” will be released on May 4, 2012, and will star Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk.
Stephen Bond contributed to this story.