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Issue Date: June 2006 Issue

Dollars and Spidey Sense

"Spider-Man 3" swung through downtown this spring, bringing a web of local spending and another line for the Greater Cleveland Film Comission's resume

Jim Vickers

Even the hot dog vendor’s business seemed to be booming.

The first day of filming for “Spider-Man 3” brought closed streets, snarled traffic and crowds of curious people poking around Euclid Avenue, which had been artfully converted into a New York City street by way of fake subway entrances, newsstands and vacant storefronts filled with NYC paraphernalia. It was a big production, which meant big local spending for everything from security services to dry cleaning.  

And though we’ve been through the drill before with smaller productions, Columbia Pictures’ decision to film scenes here for the third installment of its “Spider-Man” franchise was a big win for the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, which proved it can go head-to-head with any city in bringing big-name productions to town. Here’s a look back at some hits and misses that have filmed on the streets of Cleveland over the past 10 years.  — Jim Vickers


Spider-Man 3

Filmed: Spring 2006

Synopsis:Everyone’s favorite web-slinger returns to the big screen to take on comic book villain Sandman.

On Location: Filming occurred on Euclid Avenue between Public Square and East 18th Street. Who knows what’ll make the final cut (word is the work here will result in mere minutes on the screen), so keep your eyes peeled.

Box Office: Given the huge success of the first two Spider-Man movies and a high-profile ’07 release date, we’re guessing this one is going to be huge.

Worth Noting: Aside from decorating Euclid Avenue with newsstands and fake subway entrances, computer effects will be used to beef up the skyline to make Cleveland look more like the Big Apple. 


American Splendor

Filmed: Fall 2001

Synopsis:An adaptation of Clevelander Harvey Pekar’s autobiographical comic that mixes documentary-style interviews and an animated version of Pekar with actor Paul Giamatti’s take on him.

On Location: Filmed in Lakewood and Cleveland, Shay’s Restaurant, Detroit Theater and Elmwood Bakery are prominently featured, to name just a few recognizable spots.

Box Office:The art house film earned less than $6 million during its first 15 weeks, but received critical praise.

Worth Noting: It was nominated for an Oscar for “Best Adapted Screenplay,” but lost to “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”  


Welcome to 

Filmed: Spring 2001

Synopsis: Producers Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney helped Cleveland natives Joe and Anthony Russo bring to life their tale of a simple heist gone hilariously bad.

On Location: Slavic Village fills in as the Collinwood of the Russo brothers’ youth. 

Box Office:Though Clooney and William H. Macy star in the movie, it quickly came and went. Its domestic gross failed to crack $400,000.

Worth Noting:Mark Mothersbaugh, an Akron native and founder of the band Devo, composed the score. 



Filmed: Spring 1999

Synopsis:Rob Lowe stars as a college professor serving time in prison who escapes in an effort to try to unravel a string of inmate deaths.

On Location: Scenes were shot at Tower City Center, Grafton State Prison and the Cleveland Metroparks.  

Box Office: This film, which had a $6 million budget, was a straight-to-video release.

Worth Noting:There aren’t enough reviews of the flick at for it to garner a “freshness” rating, but the nine posted there say the movie stinks.


Air Force One

Filmed:Fall 1996

Synopsis:A Harrison Ford action movie that finds the President of the United States fighting the hijackers who have taken over his plane.

On Location:University Circle was used to depict Russian government buildings. The rest of the movie was shot elsewhere.

Box Office:The film grossed nearly $173 million domestically during its run and earned just over $142 million overseas. 

Worth Noting: The building the men with parachutes land on during the film’s opening scene is Severance Hall. 

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