CHICAGO
08/26/2013 04:36 pm ET Updated Aug 26, 2013

'Transformers 4' Filming In Chicago Sets Cars Ablaze, Leaves Buildings In Rubble (VIDEO)

Director Michael Bay and company spent the weekend torching cars, blowing up buildings and wreaking general havoc in downtown Chicago -- all in the name of "Transformers 4" filming, that is.

Filming for the latest installment of the blockbuster franchise kicked off production in the city on Friday with explosions at the McCormick Place plaza. The building, being used a stand-in for Hong Kong, was reportedly covered in Chinese ads during filming.

According to the Tribune, low-flying helicopters skimmed just above the Chicago River, flying under the bridge near Wacker Drive Sunday morning. Other scenes were shot near the Bean in Millennium Park where a bearded Kelsey Grammer (the former fictional mayor of Chicago) looked on while extras ran screaming across the plaza (embedded above).

Onlookers around downtown snapped photos and videos of every possible sneak peek, including a parade of ultra-expensive cars, star Transformers Bumblebee, Optimus Prime and Hound, and a wicked building explosion (embedded below).

Filming moves to Uptown Wednesday and Thursday according to the Tribune, and will return to Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower over the weekend. The mid-week production is rumored to take place near the Uptown Theatre and the Green Mill, reportedly for a scene set in an old town in Texas.

Despite the past weekend's dazzling pyrotechnics, Chicago Film Office director Rich Moskal told NBC Chicago the recent visuals aren't even the production's most extreme.

"There's expectations of the Transformers shoots being all pyrotechnic and spectacular, but they'll be easing into things at first. If you're looking to get a glimpse of the big stunts, this weekend may not provide all of that."

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