Russo Bros Wanted to Shoot 'Infinity War' in Cleveland

The Russo Bros direct Chris Evans on the 'Winter Soldier' set
Imagine Medina standing in for the rolling hills of Wakanda or the steps of the Sanctum Sanctorum leading down to E. 9th. With a little more infrastructure, it may have happened.

Cleveland natives and Avengers: Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo said as much recently during a Q&A after a screening of the film at the Cleveland Cinematheque, adding that they would have loved to bring Infinity War to Cleveland. One of the reasons the brothers couldn’t is because it lacks a modern sound stage suitably for a film its size.

The Russos shot much of Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier in Cleveland. If the right sound stage was available, they would have kept the film in Northeast Ohio longer.

Pinewood Atlanta Studios
The directors said the availability of state-of-the-art sound stages was one of the main reasons why nearly 40 feature films are shooting in Georgia. Georgia's Pinewood Atlanta Studios is the second largest purpose-built studio in North America, featuring 18 sound stages ranging from 15,000 to 40,000 square feet with adjacent workshop facilities and a 400-acre backlot.

For a time, there was talk that a sound stage could be built on the former Geauga Lake and Wildwater Kingdom property in Aurora, Ohio, but those plans never came to fruition.

Prepping the Winter Soldier on Cleveland's Detroit Shoreway

Tax incentives may also play a part

Another reason may be Georgia’s generous film tax incentive. The state offers a 20 percent tax credit for companies that spend $500,000 or more on production and post-production, throwing in another 10 percent if the film includes the state’s logo in its end credits. Broderick Johnson, producer of The Blind Side, referred to the credit as “one of the best, if not the best, in the country,” in an interview with Variety. There appears to be no cap, which is why the state has become the Hollywood of the East.

A bill before the Ohio General Assembly would more than double Ohio’s Motion Picture Tax Credit, lifting the benefit from $40 million per fiscal year to $100 million. The goal is to expand the state’s budding film industry by attracting more film, television and theater production.

Shooting 'Spider-Man 3' on Prospect Ave. in Cleveland

Cleveland’s ‘Marvelous’ history

Cleveland is no stranger to Marvel heroes. Sony shot an action sequence for Spider-Man 3 along Prospect Avenue in 2007. The city and surrounding area was also used extensively for Joss Whedon’s Avengers in 2011, which brought all of Marvel’s cinematic heroes together for the first time.

In 2013, the Russos were tapped to direct Winter Soldier. At the time, the choice was questioned by fans because of the Russos background in television comedy. What they got was arguably the best movie in Marvel’s canon.

The Russos shot Winter Soldier in Cleveland, famously shutting down the Detroit Shoreway to film one of the movie’s more intense action sequences.