Thanks to incentives, Chicago enjoyed a record rise in revenues and shoot days in all film areas

Chicago enjoyed a banner year across all areas of film, TV and commercial production in 2007, according to figures released by the Chicago Film Office.

A total of 469 productions shot for 1,381 total days, according to CFO statistics, which track permitted days on Chicago city streets, not including suburban, Downstate, or unpermitted interior shooting.

“There was an abundance of production of all different budget sizes and lengths of shooting,” said CFO director Rich Moskal. “There were a good many moderate-sized productions like “The Merry Gentlemen,” “Of Boys and Men,” and “Witless Protection.”

While the IFO hasn’t released 2007 revenue totals yet, Moskal speculated that it would prove to be “one of the biggest years we’ve had,” even discounting the impact of “The Dark Knight.” “From a revenue standpoint it’s going to be way up,” Moskal said.

“We have every expectation that 2007 will be a history-making year for the film industry in Illinois as far as setting records and numbers,” said Ashley Cross, a spokesperson for the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the IFO’s parent agency.

Cross said it would be several weeks before the state completed its audit and released final numbers.

Last year the Illinois Film Office estimated a total of $80 million in in-state production spending. Spending in 2006 was estimated at $80 million, split almost evenly between film/TV and commercials, down from $90 million in 2005.

“The Dark Knight” contributed to 280% spurt in studio film shoots

Nine studio films shot within the city for 174 days in 2007, up from eight projects shooting just 46 studio days in ’06 and the biggest growth area for the year.

The studio films hired 352 local union actors and stunt performers, according to AFTRA/SAG assistant executive director Kit Woods, as well as 350 local crew and 6,000 extras.

“The Dark Knight,” widely cited as the biggest shoot ever in Chicago, was predictably the leader in shoot days at 66, and was expected to blow away records for spending by a single production. “The Dark Knight” hired 250 union performers, Woods said.

The other top studio shoots in town were Timur Bekmambetov’s Universal-Angelina Jolie comic book adaptation “Wanted” at 30 days; Gary Fleder’s Universal-Dennis Quaid sports drama “The Express” at 29 days; Vince Vaughn Christmas comedy “Fred Claus” at 24 days; DreamWorks’ thriller “Eagle Eye” at 10 days.

Lionsgate’s Larry the Cable Guy vehicle “Witless Protection,” Tyler Perry dramedy “Meet the Browns” shot four days each, New Line’s Chicago-set, Toronto-shot “The Time Traveler’s Wife” shot four days each. New Line’s “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” shot two days.

Outside the city, Neil Burger’s Iraq veterans drama “The Lucky Ones,” formerly “The Return,” filmed throughout the suburbs and downstate.