Mayor Emanuel Announces Unprecedented TV Filming Underway And More Than $1 Billion Generated By Surge In Film Production Over Last Five Years

With a record 8 shows filming this fall season and $1.3 billion generated by film and commercial production since 2011, Chicago’s status as a preferred destination for filming continues to bolster neighborhoods and local economy

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–September 1, 2016.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel was joined yesterday by award-winning producer Dick Wolf, NBCUniversal executives, members of the film industry and unions in announcing that the City of Chicago has seen record TV filming production in 2016—a two-fold increase in TV shows filming here over last year. This year’s filming boost is due in large part to TV series selecting the city as the main stage for filming—with an unprecedented eight full-time major TV series filming across the city’s neighborhoods this year, and another two major series’ filming locally part time.

Additionally, while the city has recorded more than $1.3 billion in economic activity from film and commercial production since 2011, this year’s filming is expected to outpace economic benefits seen in previous years, contributing to local jobs and the livelihood of Chicago’s neighborhoods.

“It’s a testament to the depth and talent associated with Chicago’s local film industry that an extraordinary eight full-time TV series now call our city home,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We are proud that Chicago continues to serve as a destination for filming and commercial activity, due to our talented residents, state-of-the-art facilities, and affordable services—not to mention our iconic skyline and the rich character and diversity of Chicago’s neighborhoods. I want to thank Dick Wolf and our studio partners for their continued partnership, as each of these productions contributes significantly to the growth of our neighborhoods and the economic health of our city.”

From 2011 to 2015, film, television and commercial production has steadily increased year over year, with this particular 5-year period breaking the billion dollar mark and bringing in more than double what was realized in 2006 to 2010, which totaled just under $600 million.

The surge in Chicago filming and commercial production has boosted local spending and job creation, while increasing traffic for a wide range of local businesses, hotel rooms, office and warehouse leasing, vehicle and equipment leasing, construction supplies, and local tax revenues. With eight full-time shows scheduled for this year, along with “Shameless” (Showtime) and “Sense8” (Netflix) filming locally part-time, the amount of television filming in Chicago has more than doubled in 2016.

In 2015, the four full-time television series in production in Chicago were “Empire” from 20th Century Fox Television, “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Med” from Wolf Films and Universal Television. In 2016, four additional series were added. In production now is “Patriot” from Amazon Studios; “The Exorcist” and “A.P.B” from 20th Century Fox Television; and finally with production set to begin in September is “Chicago Justice” from Wolf Films and Universal Television.

“We owe an incredible debt to Chicago, especially Mayor Emanuel, for giving us the proverbial ‘keys to the city’ and to Governor Rauner for giving us the economic means to produce these shows in Illinois,” said Wolf. “Chicago and its people are an integral part of the success of these shows.”
On average, a single season of one network television series spends $30-40 million locally and hires anywhere from 250 to 400 people. According to NBC, they will have spent over $150 million in wages and employed 1,300 people locally on the production of their respective series this season alone. With three additional FOX shows and a new Amazon series filming concurrently, Chicago is on pace to exceed last year’s 1,902 filming days and total revenue of $330 million in Illinois spending for FY2015. Furthermore, in combining TV production with other film and commercial productions, this puts Chicago on track to have one of its most robust filming schedules to date.

“The City of Chicago is attracting unprecedented film activity and supporting our homegrown filmmakers and artists,” said DCASE Commissioner Mark Kelly. “Programs like our Independent Film Initiative and ChicagoMade Shorts build on the great work of many organizations that are seeking to support and retain the artists and creatives of our local entertainment industry.”

According to the Illinois Film Office, which awards a 30 percent tax credit to film, television and advertising productions for qualified expenditures of Illinois crew, goods and services, projects in 2015 generated an estimated $330 million in Illinois spending, an 18 percent increase over the previous year, and employed thousands of Illinois residents.

In addition to the surge in television series production, the City has served as home for filming the following major motion pictures in recent years: Man of Steel, Divergent, Jupiter Ascending, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and Batman V. Superman. Additionally, Southside with You, the story of Barack & Michelle Obama’s first date, is opening this Labor Day weekend.

Since Mayor Emanuel took office, the City of Chicago has made a more concerted effort to partner with the film industry on commercial programming. In addition to the creation of the state-of-the-art sound stage Cinespace, Chicago has become a more sought-after destination for filming because of its diverse economy and assets that businesses of any size need to grow – an unparalleled workforce, world-class transportation systems, and access to capital.