In the Bay Area, the latest Transformers movie is more than a box-office smash: It’s a local job creator.
On its opening weekend, Transformers: Age of Extinction pulled in more than $300 million worldwide for distributor Paramount, but before that, it pulled in hundreds of new jobs at Industrial Light & Magic, the San Francisco-based special effects giant that created all the imagery used in the film.
Michael Balog's job title at ILM is "destruction specialist.” The new Transformers movie called for so much computer-generated destruction that the big Hollywood studios to looked north and hired Bay Area high-tech effects specialists.
"I think a lot of clients from LA do come up here because of the level of detail and the quality we're able to produce,” Balog said.
ILM says the typical workforce for most big, summer special-effects driven films is about 200 people. For this movie, he said, 500 people worked to put the effects on the big screen.
"You think you need so many people when you start,” Balog said, “and by the time you finish, you doubled in size. So it has created quite a few jobs up here.”
These days, just about every movie made needs Silicon Valley effects.
That keeps ILM in business … and keeps them growing.