Filming on the new Avengers: Infinity War blockbuster in Edinburgh is set to spark a £10 million boost for the capital's economy - more than is usually generated from a whole year's worth of productions.
The directors of the star-studded film, said to the be biggest and most complex ever to be shot in the city, have revealed they “jumped at the chance” to use Edinburgh as a backdrop.
The capital’s film commission has revealed the first details of the six-week production schedule, agreed after more than a year’s negotiations with Marvel and Disney executives.
More than 400 crew members began several weeks of second unit filming, without the key cast members, began on 22 March.
Stars including Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olson and Paul Bettany are expected to shoot scenes in the city from mid-April.
The economic boom from the Avengers movie, which is being directed by brothers Joe and Anthony Russo, will easily surpass the amount generated for the city’s economy in 2016, when Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting sequel was filmed for several months in the city.
Joe Russo said: “When Edinburgh came up as a location option we jumped at the chance. 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’re excited to have such a beautiful and historic city in the film.”
Cockburn Street and Waverley Station will be deployed as key locations in the film, which is also expected to go on location in the Lothians and into the Borders. Other locations in the city are being kept firmly under wraps.
Last year was the most successful record for the Film Edinburgh commission, with T2 helping to boost the value of productions to £7.7 million. The equivalent figures in 2013 and 2014 were £2.9m and £4.5m.
Rosie Ellison, manager of the Film Edinburgh commission, said: “This is the biggest production to ever film in the region. But crucially, it also clearly demonstrates Edinburgh has the infrastructure and process in place to accommodate major filming of this scale.
“Film Edinburgh and the council have worked closely with the filmmakers for over a year to coordinate the smooth running of the location shoot in the region. The production team have been a pleasure to work with and have been considerate of the impact of filming on local business, visitors and residents.”
Gavin Barrie, economic development leader at the city council, said: “Our cobbled streets, historic properties and stunning green spaces could set the scene for some of cinema’s greatest superheroes and it is fantastic to secure such an A-list production.
“We know 40 per cent of visitors to the UK are attracted to places they have seen on screen and the Marvel franchise offers a huge opportunity to promote Edinburgh all over the world. This is fantastic news for the city and our film industry.
“The council will do all it can to support Film Edinburgh and the producers and keep the city moving throughout the shoot.”