‘Transformers’ films in downtown Detroit

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Loud booms came forth from the corner of W. Fort and Shelby Friday for filming of the fifth installment of the “Transformers” franchise.

Scenes began being shot for “Transformers: The Last Knight” in Detroit Monday, and filming is scheduled to continue for eight weeks. According to a memo from Paramount Pictures sent to tenants in the area, filming is taking place Friday afternoon.

Passersby pulled out cellphones to snap photos and speculated on the plot of the movie starring Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel and Sir Anthony Hopkins as security ushered them to keep moving.

Several pedestrians said the filming of a multimillion dollar movie is a way for a positive image of Detroit to reach the eyes of people across the country.

“It makes you proud of where you’re from,” said Kate Lundy, who added that she has seen all the other “Transformers” movies with her 13-year-old and 11-year-old sons.

Her husband, Mark, said filming in Detroit brings the glitz and glam of Hollywood home.

“It’s nice to understand what they go through and do while filming,” Mark Lundy said.

Teams have been prepping Capitol Park and the former State Savings Bank building at the corner of Fort and Shelby since June 15.

All roads remained open for filming Friday, but the sidewalk on the east side of Shelby was closed to pedestrian traffic. Production occupied curbside parking on Fort, Shelby and W. Congress in the area as well.

This is director Michael Bay’s fourth time filming “Transformers” in Metro Detroit. He also shot scenes from “The Island” in the area.

Ronald Morris of southwest Detroit said he did not realize the previous “Transformers” movies were partially filmed in the area until he saw a Fort sign and read through the credits in the fourth installation “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” which premiered in 2014. He said he thinks filming in Detroit is good for its tourism.

“I like to go places that I see in the movies,” Morris said. “I’ve been to places in Detroit and Washington where movies have been filmed.”

Of the production’s 850 cast and crew members, 450 will be Michigan residents, and around 700 extras will be hired.

The movie is expected to spend $80 million in Michigan and will receive $21 million in tax incentives under an agreement made prior to the Michigan legislature’s decision to end film subsidies in July 2015, according to the Michigan Film Office.

Before coming to Detroit, “The Last Knight” filmed in Arizona as well as Cuba, becoming the second American movie to be shot there after “Fast 8.” Additional filming is taking place in London.

The franchise has grossed approximately $3.7 billion worldwide and has plans to continue beyond the movie currently being filmed. “Transformers 6” and “Transformers 7” are due June 8, 2018, and June 28, 2019, respectively.

“Transformers: The Last Knight” is scheduled to hit theaters on June 23, 2017, 10 years after the first “Transformers” movie opened in 2007.


(313) 222-2032

Twitter: @RightandNoble