Big TV, film production season is underway

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By midpoint this year, Chicago production had come close to the number of shooting days it had enjoyed during 2013’s record-breaking run, reports the Chicago Film Office’s Rich Moskal. “At the end of June we had issued 638 permits to shoot on city streets, as compared to 650 last year,” he says.

That’s only the beginning, as entertainment production for the rest of the year and into 2015 is very strong, with four TV shows that will roll rolling simultaneously through next spring and one feature. 

Four of the shows are working on Cinespace stages and one show is at Chicago Studio City.

NBC Universal’s two primetime Dick Wolf shows, “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD,” kicked off the new filming season here July 18.    

According to Local 476 president Brad Matthys, an estimated 120 Chicago union members are working on each of the two crews. The hourlong action duo are expected to keep our local economy ramped through March or April of 2015.

On Aug. 18, low-budget horror sequel “Sinister 2” from Blumhouse Productions (“Insidious,” “Paranormal Activity”) gets underway, at Chicago Studio City until Sept. 30. Matthys estimates crew size at between 75 and 100.

“Sinister’s” known shooting locations to date are Grant Park and Kankakee.  Al Cohn is production manager, Larry Lundy set decorator and Claire Simon is casting. Release date is set for April, 2015, through Focus Features.

Showtime’s Chicago-set “Shameless” shot in LA will be here Aug. 21-25 to shoot exteriors.  They’ll be back in late fall or early winter for more of the same.

"Empire" and "Sirens" start shooting after Labor Day

"Empire" star Terrance HowardStarting after Labor Day two TV shows crank up: Fox’s new one hour family drama “Empire,” starting Sept. 5 and USA Network’s comedy “Sirens’” second season, Sept. 8, both at Cinespace.

“Empire” will have a crew of about 125; with Richard Lederer as UPM and Claire Simon casting. An estimated 12 sets for the show are in final stages of construction at Cinespace. Its schedule is to shoot five days in the studio and three days on location.

See the trailer here.

USA Network’s “Sirens” starts shooting its second season after Season One was ranked as basic cable’s No. 1 new comedy show of the year.  An estimated 11 episodes will be shot, with a crew of 65; Paskal Rudnicke is casting and Extraordinary Casting providing the extras.  Season Two will bow in mid-January.

Come November, “Superman vs. Batman: Dawn of Justice” will spend a week in Downstate Plano and a couple of days shooting in the city. Right now the biggest movie to ever hit Michigan, projected to spend roughly $131 million during its stay, is starting to hit the streets of downtown Detroit and nearby areas.

Where’s Waldo in this scenario is Robert DeNiro’s feature “Idol’s Eye,” a biopic about Outfit boss Tony (Big Tuna) Accardo.  It was reported to be filming here in October. To date, nobody knows nuttin.’

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