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Cleveland Doubles as New York City – Again – As ‘The Avengers’ Assemble on the Northcoast

The Avengers – Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Nick Fury – are set to tear up Cleveland. Marvel Studios’ biggest film to date announced that it will bring the superhero production to the Northcoast this spring and summer.

Principal photography could begin as early as late spring and continue through September, according to Katie Sabatino, spokesperson for the Ohio Film Office.

“Cleveland is the primary location for the production,” says Sabatino. Several scenes will be shot throughout the city, but expect to see a familiar sight: Downtown Cleveland dressed up to look like New York City.

Clevelanders got a taste of New York City superheroes by way of Marvel’s famous webslinger, Spider-Man. A second unit from Spider-Man 3 shot an armored car chase down city streets in the fall of 2007. This time – and these heroes – promise to be different.

“This will be a much more involved shoot than Spider-Man 3,” says Sabatino.

Which means you might catch a glimpse of Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) or Chris Evans (Captain America) knocking down pins at the Corner Alley. And filmmakers might get to watch director Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly) at work.

Heck, we might even be lucky enough to catch Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) shopping at Crocker Park. (Fingers crossed!)

When she isn’t knocking down pins with the boys, of course.

Assembling in Ohio
The project was originally slated to shoot in Detroit, until the state abolished its motion picture tax credit. As soon as the picture started shopping for a new location, the Ohio Film Office and the Greater Cleveland Film Commission leapt into action.

“The fast work of both staffs helped bring this major motion picture to Ohio – the largest production the state has ever seen,” says Sabatino, spokesperson for the Ohio Film Office.

Ohio’s motion picture tax credit helped pave the way. “The Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit not only made Ohio competitive, it helped seal the deal – providing $8.1 million in tax credits,” says Sabatino. “The tax credit is a valuable incentive and is working to grow Ohio’s film industry by helping the film office aggressively recruit projects.  Projects that bring revenue and job opportunities to Ohio and makes the state competitive with other states vying for productions.”

Today, many production companies will only consider shooting in a state if it has a tax credit in place. Since the tax credit was established, a number of larger film projects have shot in Ohio, including Unstoppable with Denzel Washington, now out on DVD, and Ides of March with George Clooney, which recently concluded principal photography in Clooney’s native Cincinnati.

The film could employ hundreds of Ohio-based cast and crew, and use local service and supply vendors.

The Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit provides a refundable tax credit that equals 25 percent off in-state spend and non-resident wages, and 35 percent in Ohio resident wages on eligible productions. Filmmakers from Ohio and around the country can apply for the tax credit by going to and downloading the application. Productions must have a minimum of $300,000 in in-state spending to qualify, among other qualifications (outlined on the website).  They can work with our staff members to go through the process of applying.


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