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Record year for film making

Superheroes inject millions into city economy

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson: stars in the latest Avengers sequel

Filming of the latest superhero movie in Edinburgh was mainly responsible for a surge in earnings from the movie industry.

Production teams spent seven weeks filming the blockbuster Avengers: Infinity Wars in the Old Town, helping to generate the bulk of record £16.1 million for the city economy.

The 2017 impact figures surpass the previous record year, 2016 when Danny Boyle’s T2 Trainspotting and the wartime epic Churchill helped boost the value of the industry to £7.7m.

Other big screen productions contributing to the 2017 figures were the feature film Mary Queen of Scots starring Margot Robbie, and Outlaw King about Robert the Bruce. Other Edinburgh locations featured in TV dramas Trust Me and Liar, and the latest series of Outlander.

The making of the Avengers film saw more than 400 crew members descend on Waverley Station, Cockburn Street, Victoria Street and the Royal Mile.

The film, which stars Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo and Paul Bettany, hits cinemas on 27 April. It is a sequel to 2012’s The Avengers (the fifth highest grossing film of all time) and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron (the seventh highest grossing film of all time).

Film Edinburgh, which works with production companies and location managers, said Avengers: Infinity War was the largest and most complex shoot ever to film in the Old Town.

It estimates that the film was worth at least £10m to the economy.

Brothers Joe and Anthony Russo, co-directors of Avengers: Infinity War said they jumped at the chance to film scenes in the city because it had never been used as the backdrop to a big action film.

Joe Russo said: “The city is such a unique and iconic location, but one never seen as the backdrop for a big action film, which is incredibly exciting.”

Anthony Russo added: “The support from all local agencies, such as Film Edinburgh, has been invaluable in helping to coordinate this complicated shoot.

“We appreciate the entire city’s help and are excited to have such a beautiful and historic city in the film.”

Pinewood, Avengers

Film crews descended on the city in April last year (photo by Terry Murden)

In total there were 1,068 days of filming of 348 productions last year, compared to 322 productions across 938 days during the previous 12 months.

Other productions shot in and around the city included Songs of Praise, Bargain Hunt, Robbie Coltrane’s Critical Evidence, Location Location Location, Geordie Shore, Grand Designs, X Factor and The Voice.

Film Edinburgh manager Rosie Ellison said: “It has been a fantastic year and the impact of Avengers: Infinity War has been a large contributor to that.

“We’re looking forward to the film opening in April, and encourage fans to come and see it in Edinburgh.

“Accommodating feature films shows the industry that not only is Edinburgh a uniquely stunning and historical location, it also has the infrastructure in place to support big budget productions, and we’re hugely proud to have worked on such a range of exciting projects.”

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