A video that went viral on Twitter Monday showed what appeared to be a ripped-in-half Muni bus careening around the corner of Bush Street and swerving to avoid traffic.
Though some on social media joked that it was a Muni operator running late at rush hour, the spectacle was actually a stunt for Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the first major feature film to start shooting in San Francisco since the pandemic hit, according to Susannah Greason Robbins, executive director of the San Francisco Film Commission.
Production will take place in the Fisherman’s Wharf, Russian Hill, Noe Valley, Nob Hill and Clement Street areas from October 17 to October 24, she said.
The film brings San Francisco its own superhero. Shang-Chi, a Kung Fu master played by Canadian actor Simu Liu, seeks “peace and harmony in a weary world while opposing those who would tear it down”; a welcome antidote, even if fictional, to 2020.
Though the Muni bus in question was a prop, residents can expect to see similarly believable car crashes, erratic driving and other crazy stunt scenes around The City throughout this week as Shang-Chi fights terror and his enemies.
Robbins said a film of this size could “easily” spend more than $3 million in the six days of filming here in The City, though productions don’t share their exact numbers with her office.
“This is a huge injection of money into our local economy when it is needed the most,” she said. “Our local crews and extras need to work, our hotels need to be filled, our merchants need business.”
San Francisco is no stranger to hosting production for movies, television series, commercials and more. Robbins attributes The City’s popularity as one of “the most cinematic cities in the world” to its diverse landscapes and urbanscapes, classic aerial views, unique architecture and experienced film crews ready to work.
But productions left town and cancelled trips to The City when the Film Commission halted their permitting process on March 13 due to the shelter-in-place mandate.
The film industry got the green light to return with additional COVID-19 protocols statewide on June 12, and the San Francisco Commission has since granted 71 permits for a total of 175 shoot days.
Robbins called the ramp-up a “huge boon to our local economy,” and a “help especially in times like these when The City and its businesses are re-emerging now that we have put so much into getting the virus under control.”
honestly who hasn’t been on at least 1 muni ride like this pic.twitter.com/WxThbTWYof
— jacq-o-lantern 🎃 (@hojicha_babie) October 19, 2020
My endeavor to find some movie action payed off! Watch this! pic.twitter.com/YpAyrBzLuN
— Inside San Francisco (@mydayinSF) October 20, 2020