4 times Milwaukee was featured in the movies

Downtown Milwaukee, Credit: iStock

By Christina Lorey

March 18, 2024

While Milwaukee isn’t as big of a Hollywood hub as Chicago or New York, the movie industry has been taking advantage of its lakeside location for several decades.

Here are a few films that have showcased some of the city’s greatest landmarks:

🎥 Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon (2011): During filming, the Milwaukee Art Museum transformed into the headquarters of billionaire antagonist Dylan (Patrick Dempsey). Filming only took two days since cameras were set up in the museum ahead of time. Dempsey, Shia LaBeouf, and model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Megan Fox’s replacement in the film) were all on location for the shoot.

Fun Fact: The art museum has also hosted “American Idol” auditions, “Shark Tank” tryouts, and even a Victoria’s Secret commercial shoot!

🎥 Bridesmaids (2011): The production crew of “Bridesmaids” paid a short visit to Milwaukee to shoot exteriors for the opening credits, although the cast (which included Kristin Wiig, Megan McCarthy, and Rose Byrne) only filmed in Los Angeles. The Milwaukee Art Museum makes another cameo in this film, as well as the Harley Davidson Museum and Milwaukee Public Market. 

🎥 Public Enemies (2009): Since notorious Chicago criminals in the 1920s and ’30s preferred Wisconsin as a getaway location, the “Public Enemies” production team chose the Badger state for a handful of filming spots. From February to June 2008, Universal Pictures took over the Milwaukee County Historical Center on 910 N. Old World 3rd St., which used to be the Second Ward Savings Bank. The film’s crew recreated the bank’s original configuration for a robbery scene starring Johnny Depp as American gangster John Dillinger.

Fun Fact: The film also generated publicity for the Wisconsin Historical Society, which received an influx of visitors following the shoot.

🎥 Mr. 3000 (2004): Bernie Mac starred as Milwaukee Brewers baseball superstar Stan Ross, “Mr. 3000,” who got the nickname after what he believed to be his 3000th hit. The film’s crew shot scenes at American Family Field, as well as Marquette University High School on 35th St. and Wisconsin Ave.

Fun Fact: The “Mr. 3000” crew made multiple appearances at (what was then) Miller Park and shot in between innings of actual Brewers’ games.

MORE: Oscar Winners with Wisconsin Ties


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

CATEGORIES: Our Wisconsin


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