MEXICO CITY – Jewelry, clothing and shoe stores, as well as restaurants, in Mexico City’s historic downtown district are hoping that Holy Week spending by residents and visitors will help them recoup the losses caused by street closings for the shooting of the new James Bond film “Spectre.”
A survey found that the 6,627 businesses affected by street and sidewalk closings experienced average sales drops of 60 percent in the two weeks of location shooting by the film’s crew, Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Services and Tourism president Gerardo Lopez Becerra told Efe.
Location shooting for “Spectre,” the 24th film in the James Bond series, cost merchants an estimated 376.9 million pesos (some $24.7 million).
The losses are the product of “bad public policy” on the part of Mexico City officials, “who agreed to provide locations for the production (of the film) without considering or respecting business, mercantile and even religious activities” in the area, Lopez said.
“We’re not against promoting the country and the capital with these kinds of films, it’s a good reflection on Mexicans. But they are not dealing with the effects it might have on businesses,” Lopez said.
Mexico City officials closed streets and sidewalks in the quadrant formed by Belisario Dominguez street, Republica de Uruguay street, Eje Lazaro Cardenas and the Correo Mayor to give the filmmakers space to shoot scenes for “Spectre,” whose cast includes Stephanie Sigman, the first Mexican Bond girl.
City officials should have “foreseen the possibility (of losses) and avoided affecting” businesses, Lopez said, adding that about 100 businesses were paid between $98 and $131 per day by the production company.
Mexico City’s historic downtown district is one of the locations for “Spectre,” which features the traditional Day of the Dead celebration.
Mexico is only featured during the first 10 minutes of the film, which also has scenes shot in London and Rome.
The street closings will end on Wednesday, Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said.
“Spectre” stars Daniel Craig, who is appearing in his fourth Bond film, and features Monica Bellucci, Lea Seydoux and Sigman as the latest Bond girls.
In the film, Agent 007 will battle the Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, or SPECTRE, and arch villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Austrian actor Christoph Waltz plays Blofeld, whose character first appears in Ian Fleming’s “Thunderball” and has been featured in several Bond films.
Craig also starred as 007 in “Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace” and “Skyfall.”