Because of their limited budget and ultrafast 34-day shooting schedule, the filmmakers had to be resourceful in showing McDonald’s restaurants all over the United States, without actually leaving Georgia.
So, they repurposed their “Des Plaines” building.
“When you see Schaumburg, when you see Minneapolis, when you see all the McDonald’s from around the country, those are subtle reworkings of only one set,” Corenblith said.
“Just by changing the parking lot stripes configuration, it was a very subtle way to tell the audience that, no, this isn’t the place you just saw because the cars are now parked perpendicularly and not diagonally or parallel.”
Corenblith’s eye for authentic detail fooled even Keaton. He assumed the crew had found an old McDonald’s restaurant and rehabbed it for the film shoot.
The magic of Hollywood…or the similarities in suburban settings?
This movie may be worth seeing just to consider the American suburban lifestyle. Would McDonald’s and other fast food companies exist without it? Fast food takes perfect advantage of a number of factors: suburbanites need to/want to drive, all that driving means it would be convenient to eat along the way, fast food restaurants are often located at busy intersections or along busy roads, the dining experience is standardized, and the reasonable prices appeal to the middle class. No suburbs, likely no McDonald’s or a very different kind of McDonald’s.