NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV in Chicago reports:

Mayor Richard Daley announced Wednesday that The Dark Knight, the next installment of Warner Bros. Pictures' Batman movie series, is doing six days of pre-production filming in the city starting Wednesday afternoon.

"I am very excited that Warner Bros. has decided to return to Chicago. And the city, through the efforts of our Chicago Film Office, is ready to assist in making sure production runs smoothly with little to no inconvenience to our residents," Daley said in a release. "The film industry is important to Chicago because it strengthens our economy and creates jobs."

The pre-production schedule includes interior filming April 18-20 and exterior work April 21-24, including helicopter work Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, according to the release. Van Buren Street between Canal and Wacker will be closed during exterior filming; parking restrictions are also be in effect; and some CTA rerouting will be necessary.

The pre-production filming of technical shots in Chicago is in advance of principal photography scheduled to take place in London this May, the release said. The movie company will return to Chicago in June and continue filming throughout the summer, predominantly in the Downtown area.

The Dark Knight is being directed by Christopher Nolan from a screenplay by Jonathan Nolan. The film, being produced by Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan, is slated for release on July 18, 2008.

Warner Bros. shot a portion of the first film in the series, Batman Begins, in Chicago during the summer of 2004.

"The filmmakers found their experience here went so well that they have not only returned to film The Dark Knight, but they have also increased the filming schedule, citing the look of Chicago, the support of the City, the State incentives and the quality of the filmmaking community," Rich Moskal, director of the Chicago Film Office, said in the release.