Film, television, and other media productions are an increasingly large part of the Illinois economy. The industry had an estimated economic impact of $560 million in 2019, an increase of 18 percent over 2018.
The data comes from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. In addition, over 15,000 non-extra job hires generated over $350 million in wages. Women and minorities represented 51 percent of the reported crew hires, the state says.
The Chicago Film Office permitted 522 projects in 2019. The city now ranks first in the Midwest region for production, third in the country for commercial advertising production, and in the top six nationally for overall production.
“Illinois’ film industry is booming, adding millions of dollars and thousands of quality jobs into the state’s economy each year. By extending the film tax credit, Governor Pritzker has proven his commitment to supporting the industry and ensuring it continues to succeed and grow,” said Peter Hawley, Director of the Illinois Film Office.
Windy City? More like TV City
In 2019, there were eleven full season series and portions of several others filmed in Chicago. Three of the Chicago-based series from NBC – Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, and Chicago PD – have all been renewed for an additional season. Meanwhile, Fargo was filmed entirely in Chicago. Additionally, Showtime’s The Chi, the HBO series Run and Station 11, Fox’s Next and Comedy Central’s South Side all filmed on location within the city.
“I was born and raised on the south side,” said Bashir Salahuddin, the producer and writer for Comedy Central’s South Side. “We wrote a comedy about my hometown. Filming in Chicago is a dream come true. It was crucial for our show that the world be authentic. Filming in Chicago makes sure we get to showcase the best talent from the Windy City.”
Finally, the Batwoman television series transformed Chicago into Gotham City yet again. Filming of large-scale stunts and driving shots took place in the central business district.
Of course, that is quite fitting. The Windy City was featured in The Dark Knight just a decade ago. That blockbuster starred lead actors Christian Bale as Batman and Heath Ledger as Joker. However, it can be argued that Chicago was a third major character in that film. The city offered breathtaking shots for viewers and brought Gotham City to life.