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Superman-Batman movie will film in Michigan; $35M in incentives OK'd by state

6:11 AM, Aug 29, 2013   |    comments
Actor Ben Affleck is set to play Batman in the upcoming 'Man of Steel' sequel opposite actor Henry Cavill as Superman.
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DETROIT (Det. Free Press) -- Michigan is getting the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader.

The upcoming Superman-Batman movie has been approved for the state's film incentives, the Michigan Film Office announced today.

The Warner Bros. film featuring the two biggest superheroes of DC Comics expects to begin shooting in metro Detroit and elsewhere in Michigan sometime in the first three months of 2014.

The movie, informally known as the untitled "Man of Steel" sequel, has been approved for $35 million in incentives on an anticipated $131 million of in-state spending.

That would represent a higher percentage of spending for the incentives awarded than Disney's "Oz the Great and Powerful," which was filmed in Pontiac's Michigan Motion Picture Studios in 2011. The origin story of Oz's wizard had a projected spending of roughly $105 million and was awarded nearly $40 million in incentives.

The movie, which will star Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman, expects to hire 406 Michigan workers. The MFO also said it would use about 500 Michigan vendors and spend $5.1 million on local hotels.

Thousands of extras are expected to be needed.

The Superman-Batman movie will be directed by Zack Snyder, who also helmed the blockbuster "Man of Steel." Snyder is co-writing the story with David S. Goyer, the Ann Arbor native who is writing the screenplay.

"Detroit is a great example of a quintessential American city, and I know it will make the perfect backdrop for our movie," said Snyder in a MFO statement.

The Superman-Batman movie has been the subject of worldwide buzz ever since the on-screen combination of the two DC superheroes was announced at this year's Comic Con.

Recently, the official Warner Bros. announcement of Affleck's casting as Batman ignited heated debate in the social media world. So did a story from CosmicBookNews.com that Bryan Cranston would be Lex Luthor, a report that lit up the Twittersphere.

Last week, the Free Press reported that the Superman-Batman movie would be coming to Detroit.

The incentives for the project will be allocated from the fiscal 2014 budget, which, like fiscal 2013, is $50 million, according to the film office. Any leftover money from the fiscal 2013 incentives will be directed to offsetting the full amount approved for this project.

So far in fiscal 2013, $36 million in incentives has been awarded to 26 projects.

Superhero films on this scale typically use several locations to complete their production. But the MFO announcement indicates that Michigan will be a substantial location for the sequel.

The movie could raise Michigan's profile as a potential filming location. The state's filming schedule had slumped after the 2011 revamping and reduction of the film incentives, but was revived this year by productions like AMC's "Low Winter Sun" and "Transformers 4."

The award also leaves enough for the state to draw a few smaller studio or TV projects or many small independent films, a mix that the local film community considers important to sustaining opportunities here.

For instance, the Superman-Batman incentive would still leave enough for the return of "Low Winter Sun" if the series is renewed. It was approved for nearly $9 million in incentives for its ten episodes.

By Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press staff writer

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