Thursday, June 24, 2010

Michael Bay to make the Milwaukee Art Museum Transform into a Giant Asshole Pundit Robot

Scott Milfred has a snotty editorial in the State Journal on the news that a scene from next summer's installment of the Transformers franchise will be filmed in Milwaukee, which he seems to believe is proof that Hollywood is stumbling over itself trying to film in Wisconsin sans film tax credits:

Our movie-loving lieutenant governor was quoted in Wednesday's State Journal once again lamenting an end to fat state subsidies for Hollywood films.

"We are really not in this game anymore," Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton said. "The (film) industry waits and hopes that Wisconsin will again be open for business under a new governor."

It only took two days for Lawton's dramatic story line to fall apart.

That's right folks, to pieces ...

Visit Milwaukee on Friday announced "Transformers 3" will shoot "a pivotal scene" at the Milwaukee Art Museum and at the old Tower Automotive site on Milwaukee's north side the week of July 12. The major motion picture will bring a cast and crew of about 150 to Cream City.

And here's the best part: state taxpayers won't have to shell out a dime.

So apparently we don't need tax credits, just $129 million worth of iconic building designed by the world's preeminent architect. They have lots of those in Stevens Point. Maybe we can get HR Giger to transform downtown Racine into a post-apocalyptic hellscape so that the next installment of the Terminator can film here?

Here's the deal: Transformers 2 cost $200 million to make. Transformers 3 will cost between $200-$250 million. Franchise movies with that kind of budget don't need tax credits because they will gross $800+ million. If Michael Bay wants to shoot at the Milwaukee Art Museum there isn't a financier in Hollywood who's going to tell him to bring back his receipts. It's a guaranteed money-maker.

So this is more an artistic accident than proof that Hollywood doesn't need a little incentive to shoot films in places like Wisconsin with its endless rural settings covered in snow half the year. When entire movies start to be produced in state, then I'll start to sing another tune. Until then Wisconsin is better served treating the whole film industry like a biotech start-up.

It's great that the Transformers circus is coming to town. I'm sure the MAM will look great through the lens of Bay's low-angled panning camera ... but this is an anomaly. Bay's not coming here because Wisconsin has talent, he coming here because we have a building. He'll be here for a week and then it's back to Malibu to slice up all the footage with attention deficit quick edits to make a storyline with a nonsensical plot; but at least we'll get to point at the big screen next summer, nudge the person sitting next to us and say through a stupid grin "Hey, that's where I live!"

[Semi-related aside: I'm going to put my money on a script that actually makes the MAM turn into some kind of robot. You know, because the brise soleil already moves and shit...]

There are millions of reasons why Wisconsin should invest in a film industry infrastructure with tax credits. In the past we've suggested that the credits died for political, not economic, reasons and there's really been nothing to dissuade us from that suggestion since. Wisconsin will benefit from film and it'd be great to see the credits come back soon.

... And regardless of what you may think of any of this business, I demand credit for not titling this post "Film Tax Credits: More than Meets the Eye."

1 comment:

Judson said...

Of course, Michael Bay your post is nice post for find bed giant and it's great that the Transformers circus is coming to town.I'm sure the MAM will look great through the lens of Bay's low-angled panning camera ... but this is an anomaly.

Milwaukee SEO Company