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Watch RFK Stadium Get Destroyed in New X-Men Movie

The new superhero movie filmed in DC for five days last July.
Michael Fassbender plays the young, stadium-wrecking Magneto. Photograph by Alan Markfield via Twentieth Century Fox.

Summer movie season is starting up and, as it does most years, this year’s crop of blockbusters features plenty of wide-scale, special effects-driven destruction of Washington.

The latest spectacle, X-Men: Days of Future Past, will bring mayhem to Washington circa 1973 when it opens Friday. In a clip released this week, Magneto (Michael Fassbender), drops into RFK Stadium and uses his power of manipulating metals to rip the coliseum from its foundation and send it flying into the air to presumably nefarious ends.

The scene appears to have all the makings of an iconic Hollywood wrecking of a Washington landmark, and it’s long past time for the old football stadium to join the ranks of the White House, US Capitol, and Washington Monument as prominent locations to have fantastical destruction visited upon them. (Washington was also prominently featured in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but the most explosive scenes took place at a Height Act-violating office tower in the middle of the Potomac River.)

Like the Captain America sequel, the X-Men flick actually did shoot around the District without the promise of financial incentives. Besides RFK, the X-Men crew spent its time in Washington shooting along the Mall, outside the White House, and from a helicopter, which it secured after getting special flight permission from the Transportation Security Agency. In total, the production spent about $63,170 over five days, according to a film permit application filed with the city’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development.

There’s just one thing about the RFK scene, though: When Magneto drops in, the stadium is occupied by a groundskeeper painting foul lines on a baseball diamond. However, the Washington Senators vacated the stadium in 1971, and baseball did not return to RFK Stadium until 2005. The Washington Diplomats soccer club did not arrive until 1974, meaning the stadium’s only tenant in 1973 was an NFL team that happens to be fairly jealous about its trademark.

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.