Coming soon to the Queen City

A recent history (and look at the future) of the movie industry in Cincinnati.

Coming soon to the Queen City

When you think about Cincinnati, sports and festivals likely come to mind. Particularly, most of the thoughts pertain to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Cincinnati Reds, Catholic parish festivals, and Oktoberfest.

However what most people don’t know is that we have recently had 39 movies filmed here. There are also two new movies soon to be filmed in Cincinnati—one starring Bruce Willis and one directed by Mariah Carey.

The movie industry comes to Cincinnati for many reasons; however, the two biggest are the old city look and the tax incentives. Cincinnati offers many tax incentives from room taxes to sales tax. Ohio also offers tax credit, allowing up to $5 million to be credited. The directors also love the old city feel. The city even posed as “Jazz Age” New York once.

The Majority of reasons for filming here are the tax incentives making it cheaper than big cities

— Coach Dabbelt

A few of the more well-known movies shot in Cincinnati are Little Man Tate, Milk Money, Ides of March, Traffic, and Rain Man.

Little Man Tate, filmed in 1991 by Jodie Foster, is about a boy, Fred Tate. He is seven years-old with an IQ that makes him a qualified genius. He starts an advanced school and as the story progresses he is confronted with whether to make a normal life or keep advancing his education. This movie was shot mainly in Over-the-Rhine, downtown Cincinnati, and Indian Hill.

Adam Hann-Byrd star of Little Man Tate, filmed in Cincinnati 1991
Adam Hann-Byrd star of Little Man Tate, filmed in Cincinnati 1991


Milk Money was filmed in 1994 and directed by Richard Benjamin. Benjamin used scenes from Cincinnati and Lebanon. The movie was about some pre-teen suburban boys trying to get the upper hand in the battle of the sexes. They believed the only way to get the upper hand was to see a nude lady.

Ides of March was about the election of the Ohio Governor. The current Governor is almost certainly going to be reelected. However, a meeting with the opposing candidate causes an issue jeopardizing the Governor’s chances. This causes his secretary to take drastic measures. This movie was directed by George Clooney, in 2011. This movie was filmed in Fountain Square and Over-The-Rhine.

Ryan Gosling starring in Ides of March shot in Cincinnati in 2011
Ryan Gosling starring in Ides of March shot in Cincinnati in 2011

Filmed in 2000, Traffic is a movie about drug-trafficking. It intertwines a few different drug trafficking stories ranging from highly personal to almost objective. In the Wakefield story line, the daughter of a judge who is a drug addict moves to Cincinnati. The judge and his friend then have to scour the city for her.

Rain Man is probably one of the most well-known movies filmed in Cincinnati. Rain Man is about a son of an estranged father who dies and the son finds out he has an older brother who is autistic. So the son takes his brother with him back to Los Angeles changing both of their lives forever. Rain Man was directed by Barry Levinson.

The new movies soon to be filmed here are Marauders and Melody & Mistletoe. Marauders is to be directed by Steven C. Miller, and will star Bruce Willis. The movie is a bank heist movie with a twist of who the real bad guy is the robbers or the bank owner. On the other end there hasn’t been a lot of information released about Melody & Mistletoe.

Despite most residents’ indifference towards Cincinnati’s scenery, movie directors seem to love it here. Cincinnati must have something special to it that we just don’t see. In the end, maybe “Cincinnasty” isn’t so nasty after all.