Filming of the new Fast & Furious blockbuster in Edinburgh was worth £5.2 million to its economy and helped the city to one of its most lucrative ever years as a destination for movie and TV shoots, according to official industry figures.
Vin Diesel’s new movie, which was shot across three weeks in the autumn and involved more than 50 road closures, saw a 500-strong crew descend on the city.
Tyrese Gibson and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges were among the other stars spotted on the streets of the city, which can be clearly seen in the first trailer for the movie, due for release in May, which has been viewed more than 31 million times in the space of 12 days.
The Film Edinburgh commission, which is charged with attracting major productions to the city, said nearly 1500 temporary local jobs were created, including 865 extras and 50 marshals.
Edinburgh’s bumper year for location filming, worth £14.4m to the economy in total, was the second most valuable since records began.
The last 12 months also saw Will Ferrell shoot scenes for new comedy Eurovision and Netflix star Vanessa Hudgens film new Christmas movie, The Princess Switch: Switched Again.
TV shows to use Edinburgh included Belgravia, a new ITV drama from the makers of Downton Abbey, which was shot in the New Town, and BBC drama Elizabeth is Missing, which used Portobello.
The most lucrative year previously was 2017, when filming of scenes for Avengers: Infinity War, Outlaw King and Mary Queen of Scots helped generate £16.1m for the economy.
Film Edinburgh manager Rosie Ellison said: “Last year again proved to be a huge spike in the value of film and TV production in the region, with a total of 340 filmed productions with an economic impact of £14.4m, an increase of 153 per cent on 2018.
“This includes expenditure on local crew and facilities, locations and services, accommodation and transportation.
“The spike was largely the result of attracting a major Hollywood production which single-handedly created a third of the economic benefit to the city. Fast & Furious, one of the most popular film series of all time, chose the city centre as one of its key locations, putting it centre stage to hundreds of millions of fans around the world.
“Filming took place over 19 days in September, with a further two months of ‘prep and strike’ surrounding filming days.
"More than 500 crew came with the production company, with a resulting boost to accommodation providers and the hospitality sector, as well as to the locations and production services employed locally. But they also gave employment to a further 1440 local people, including 856 ‘extras’ and over 50 new industry entrants, given jobs as location marshals.”
Kate Campbell, the city council's economy leader, said: "We welcome filming for the significant economic benefit and employment opportunities it brings and because we can be proud whenever we see our beautiful city on the big screen. We’ve attracted a broad range of projects from period dramas like Belgravia to the modern blockbuster franchise Fast & Furious.
Filming in the capital also brings with it lots of benefits for local businesses and opportunities for talented local film crew. As a capital city, sustaining the creative industries and the jobs needed to keep talented crew living and working in Edinburgh is important because it allows development in our own creative sector. Films made here allow us to reflect back on our own experiences and develop a deeper connection to our own culture.
“Of course, we’re also aware that productions can bring some disruption and we always work closely with film makers to limit this as far as possible.
"We’ve got a code of practice for film-makers which, among other things, requires the film makers to engage with the community where they will be working. It’s important that we can welcome major productions and all the benefits they bring to Edinburgh city region whilst making sure such filming is fair and benefits our area."