After a short sojourn to Beijing, Tony Stark is back in Hollywood and blowing up city landmarks. The web was abuzz Monday with cell phone photos and YouTube clips showing Iron Man 3 filming underway on Hollywood Boulevard and at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Hollywood Orchard Suites, located just behind the Chinese Theatre, tipped Iron Man 3’s production plans with this post on their Facebook page: “Film crews plan to shoot wide-angled shots from cranes positioned high overhead ‘to capture the full scope, color and liveliness of Hollywood’ while they ‘blow up’ Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. There will be flashes of light, debris being propelled out of the courtyard towards the street and about 30 cars driving by with obligatory fender benders. The shoot will cause street closures on Hollywood Blvd., between Highland Ave. and Orange Dr., Highland Ave. and McCadden Pl., beginning on Monday at 7 p.m. through 4 a.m. on Tuesday and possible increased noise from generators, cranes, film crews, etc.”
The bulk of Iron Man 3 was filmed in North Carolina last year, followed by a brief shoot in the Chinese capital in December. The Disney-Marvel tentpole, which opens in North America, China and select territories on May 3, is the first Chinese-Hollywood co-production in the franchise. Beijing-based DMG are signed on as partners.
The appearance of the historic Chinese Theatre will almost certainly be under the banner of Chinese electronics-maker TCL, which purchased naming rights to the Los Angeles landmark for $5 million earlier this month. The 85-year-old theater will soon be rechristened the TCL Chinese Theatre. TCL is China's fourth-largest television producer.
As a Chinese co-production, Iron Man 3 must include Chinese actors in lead roles and additional Chinese elements and participation (vaguely defined by Chinese authorities), in order to be granted the beneficial distribution and profit sharing terms accorded to Chinese projects over foreign imports. It's generally understood that co-productions are treated like domestic films by State regulatory bodies in China, meaning they get as much as 45 percent of the box instead of the 25 percent that imported films are allowed to take home.
Last week it was announced that TCL had signed a product placement deal with Disney-Marvel for its electronics – televisions, cloud technology and mobile phones – to be prominently displayed in the new Iron Man film. Presumably Chinese partner DMG, which also runs a major advertising and marketing agency in Beijing, brokered the deal, but no details were released at the time of announcement.
Whether the on-screen destruction of the newly-renamed “TCL Chinese Theatre” was an add-on stipulated by the recent product placement agreement, or part of the third installment's story all along, has not been disclosed by Marvel or DMG.