How did "Amazing Spider-Man 2" filming help the Rochester economy?

Posted at: 05/08/2013 5:57 PM
Updated at: 05/08/2013 6:19 PM
By: Ray Levato

Some downtown business owners say they've either lost money or broken even since “Amazing Spider-Man 2” started filming. The production crew will wrap up in Rochester Thursday. Experts had projected that the film would add millions to our area. So has it lived up to the hype?

When it was announced that the movie shoot was coming, the local tourism group, VisitRochester, projected a $3 million local economic impact. That would be hotel rooms and restaurants where the production crew would eat and salaries for extras.

A part of that is an estimated 3,000 hotel room nights. The local hotel tax is six percent. And based on that, the movie production is adding about $18,000 to the pot of money that is split up among the city of Rochester, Monroe County and a about a dozen tourism-related agencies. The hotel tax generates more than $6 million a year. VisitRochester gets the lion's share of that, nearly $3 million.

Crew members of the “Amazing Spider-Man 2” are staying at the Radisson Hotel on Main Street. The general manager of the Radisson, Michael Marsch,  is also president of the Rochester Hotel Association. He says this has been a shot in the arm for downtown.   

Michael Marsch, Radisson Hotel Riverside General Manager, said, “This has been a great opportunity, not only from an excitement perspective and the buzz that's happening in Rochester, but from an economic impact perspective. This production has not only filled hotel rooms but restaurants and frequented local businesses. It brings in people from out-of-state and out-of-town. They spend their money. So it's kind of like free money. It's not recycled money. I think it's a great potential economic engine as we move forward.”

Marsch says he would like to see other Hollywood movies film in Rochester.

Another economic impact from Spider-Man is there's been a lot of city police overtime for the production and it's being paid for by Columbia Pictures.

Visit Rochester statement: “VisitRochester receives $2,795,000 per year through a contract with Monroe County to be the official tourism & meeting marketing organization.  These funds come from a portion of the 6% hotel/motel tax. VisitRochester is not the sole recipient of the hotel/motel funds.  We have maintained this level of funding for the past 8 years.  It is supplemented by membership, grants from NYS I LOVE NY programs, and cooperative advertising.

As for Spider-Man II, its economic impact will not be totally evident until after the production leaves and the film office receives copies of invoices and payments.  

Also, although there has been some disruption to the downtown core during production, VisitRochester and the Rochester/Finger Lakes Film & Video Office are so pleased with the majority of cooperation the production crew has received from those effected.”

Rochester Mayor's Office statement: "We feel the Spider-Man filming was a positive for our city. It engendered much excitement and lots of folks who came to see the action scenes. We also realize it is most difficult to close our Main Street and considerable inconvenience for downtown workers and residents. All in all, it's very unlikely that another such long and protracted movie shoot would require us to close down Main Street."