If someone talks about the biggest, most famous, or most iconic venues in Las Vegas, more often than not, Caesars Palace is the first name rolled out. Hollywood has long exploited the iconic nature of the venue, from films like Iron Man and The Hangover visiting Caesars Palace.
However, the newer trend for mostly suave Hollywood flicks is to frequent the newer line of resorts, predominantly those owned and operated by MGM Resorts. So, what is it about MGM that’s making its venues so appealing to modern movies, and where are these films being shot?
An iconic brand that continues to grow
Now, many people who see the number of movies taking place at MGM Resorts’ venues quickly make the connections between the casino company and MGM Studios. However, as stringently detailed here, MGM Studios aren’t and never were a part of MGM Resorts, nor have the two ever had any affiliation. So, even without this potentially presumed direct tie to Hollywood, MGM continues to be a hot spot for moviemakers.
The brand itself has only enhanced its reputation in recent years, too, adapting and growing into the burgeoning scene of US online casino gaming. As detailed in this thorough review here, their online offering is as grand as their land-based one, earning a 4.9 out of 5.0, with their no-deposit bonus being particularly appealing to gamers. Still, it’s the brand’s eye-catching venues that really persuade filmmakers to shoot with them.
Of MGM Resorts’ ten venues on the Las Vegas Strip, it’s the site that put them on the map that’s become a hot favorite in movies: the MGM Grand. Opened in 1993, it’s relatively new by the standards of Las Vegas heavyweights, giving the suave and modern appeal needed for the 00s craze of slick heist films. Still the biggest of the bunch, as this chart shows, Ocean’s Eleven not only sees the Grand robbed, but it also puts on a staged bout between Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko during the heist at the venue.
Along with Ocean’s Eleven, the old front of the MGM Grand was used as the image of a new Las Vegas at the tail end of the Martin Scorsese film Casino. It was also a big part of the even more modern, clever heist film centered around magicians, Now You See Me, with it staging their “The Four Horsemen” stunt.
The Grand isn’t MGM’s only resort catching the eye of moviemakers
Following the likes of Ocean’s Eleven and Now You See Me in its sophisticated leaning, Focus also came to Las Vegas to stage its story about con artists. The movie saw Margot Robbie cement herself as a major star, as this review details, with the luxurious setting taking her and Will Smith’s character to the legendary Bellagio. The Ocean’s franchise also returned to MGM to visit the Bellagio, coming to the venue in Ocean’s Thirteen.
Of course, the Bellagio and its fountain show rank among the most iconic sights of Las Vegas, so several trips to Las Vegas in movies at least feature them as the backdrop to add realism to the setting. In 2016’s Jason Bourne, the Las Vegas Strip chase scene goes straight across the front of the Bellagio.
It’s not just the MGM Grand and Bellagio that feature in films, though. The return of everyone’s favorite underdog boxer in Rocky Balboa took place in MGM Resorts’ Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Furthermore, Ocean’s Thirteen also found its crew at Mandalay Bay.
MGM properties have become the place to shoot suave movies, with their modern aesthetics inside and out offering a touch of class and luxury to the backdrop.
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