Pittsburgh and its surrounding neighborhoods have provided the scene for dozens of major box office movies of varying success. A handful of those movies did amazing, becoming some of the most watched movies of all time. The list below provides the highest grossing movies ever filmed in the Pittsburgh region.
1. The Avengers
Overall Ranking: #7 @ $1,518.8 million
The Pittsburgh region contributed only one scene to this blockbuster hit. The mines of Creekside Mushroom Farm in Worthington, PA served as the underground chase scene in the beginning of the film. In the movie, Loki raced through the underground tunnels to escape from the Joint Dark Energy Mission Laboratory with the powerful hypercube tesseract.
Creekside Mushroom Farm consists of more than 150 miles of limestone tunnels. Until recently, the facility was used for underground mushroom farming. It was the largest underground mushroom farm in the world.
2. The Dark Knight Rises
Overall Ranking: #27 @ $1,084.9 million
The third movie in this epic Batman trilogy was filmed extensively throughout the Pittsburgh region. One of the more memorable scenes occurred on the steps of the Carnegie Mellon Institute. The building was used to portray Gotham’s City Hall which had been overtaken by the villain Bane. Batman engaged in an extensive, back and forth fist fight with Bane alongside hundreds of their followers.
The Carnegie Mellon Institute is a national historic landmark building on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University. It opened in 1937 as the Mellon Institute for Industrial Research, a major, independent research corporation dedicated to promoting applied research for industry.
3. Pretty Woman
Overall Ranking: #235 @ $463.4 million
This 1990 film classic was shot primarily around Los Angeles, but Pittsburgh did make an appearance in the famous opera scene. When Edward takes Vivian to see the opera, it’s the Carnegie Music Hall that's used for the opera house exterior. It’s a popular location for filming, blockbusters like Flashdance and Silence of the Lambs had scenes here as well.
The Carnegie Music Hall is an architecturally detailed event space built in 1895. It’s affiliated with the Carnegie Museum network in Pittsburgh and still operates as a functioning concert and lecture hall.
4. The Fault in Our Stars
Overall Ranking: #451 @ $307.2 million
Pittsburgh was the primary filming location for this best selling novel adaptation. Sites from all over the city were used during filming. One readily identifiable location is the site of Hazel’s cancer support group where she meets Gus. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mt. Lebanon provided the backdrop. The facility was called St. Paul’s in the movie as well.
5. Silence of the Lambs
Overall Ranking: #532 @ $272.7 million
It’s hard to imagine 531 better movies than this classic featuring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. Sites in and around Pittsburgh can be seen throughout the movie. Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall was the unforgettable scene of Hannibal Lector’s escape from a solitary confinement cage. In the scene, the mastermind cannibal outwitted and savagely slaughtered two guards to free himself.
Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum is a national historic landmark constructed in 1908 on what is now the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. The memorial was constructed to honor the region’s civil war veterans. It was built on the Army mustering grounds during the time of the Civil War.
6. Super 8
Overall Ranking: #561 @ $260.1 million
This popular Spielberg Sci-Fi thriller was filmed in Weirton, West Virginia; a small town about 35 miles west of Pittsburgh. More than 20 locations were used during filming, but the town’s Main Street stood out as the principle setting for the majority of memorable scenes including the climatic water tower scene where the alien assembles its spacecraft for escape.
7. Jack Reacher
Overall Ranking: #697 @ $218.3 million
This Tom Cruise action movie was filmed entirely on-site in Pittsburgh. The movie is filled with sites from all over the downtown area. The plot is centered around a mass murder, carried out by a sniper targeting victims along the Riverwalk near PNC Park. The sniper himself was situated across the Allegheny River in the Stanwix Tower Apartment parking garage.