Universal Pictures wanted a final extra scene to be shot, to show what happened to the characters played by Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy. The latter said he would only do it if he was paid an additional $500,000, so the scene was dropped.
The Rossa Corsa Red 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso used in the film was claimed to have been the exact car owned by the "King of Cool, Steve McQueen." While it is true that Steve McQueen did own a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, his car was Chestnut Brown, not the Italian Red used on the movie car.
Producers hired a professional safe cracker, eight time world champion Jeff Sitar, to work with the props master to set up the dial lock for the safe cracking scene, and coach Gabourey Sidibe on how to use a safe cracker's listening device and work the dial to crack the safe.
Some theater chains refused to book the film when Universal Pictures revealed that they planned to put the film out on Video on Demand three weeks after the theatrical release. Their concern about how this move would harm ticket sales prompted Universal to back down on this idea.
The 1912 chess game Shaw (Alan Alda) references, while talking to Kovaks (Ben Stiller), is a real game. However, rather than playing it out, Levitsky resigned after Marshall moved his queen, realizing checkmate was inevitable. The "Marshall Swindle" term did not derive solely from that game, as it was a well known tactic of Frank Marshall's to often play a game in a lazy or relaxed style that ceded his opponent the advantage. Just when he appeared to be in a totally lost position, he would summon up a marvelous tactical flight of fancy to smash his unaware opponent. Some of his defeated and frustrated opponents, believing that they had a moral right to the victory after having established decisive advantage, felt that Marshall had cheated them out of their just desserts, and often complained that they had been "swindled." A well-known "Marshall Swindle" occurred in a game between Marshall and Georg Marco in 1904.
After a screening of the film at L.A.'s Arclight Cinemas, director Brett Ratner said that "rehearsal is for fags" during a Q&A. Due to this controversial statement, Ratner had to resign as a producer of The 84th Annual Academy Awards (2012) in November 2011. Following this, Eddie Murphy, who had signed on as host of the event, also stepped down. Ratner and Murphy were replaced with Brian Grazer and Billy Crystal, respectively, for the show.
The Ferrari Lusso used in many of the scenes was actually a heavily modified Volvo 1800. Two were fabricated. Corroboration from the builder found on FerrariChat, said, "Hi, I'm Erich Schultz. I built the two replica Lussos for Tower Heist (2011). I was hired by Ralph Lucci of Automobile Film Club of America, based in New York, to do the job. Brett Ratner, the film's director, wanted the job done by Ted Moser of Picture Car Warehouse in LA. Ted and I are friends, so I told Ralph I would do the job with Ted and act as the project manager. Initially, we were given just seven weeks from getting the job to the final delivery date for two complete cars. I thought that this time frame was unrealistic and I needed ten weeks. We ended up taking eight and a half weeks from start to finish to build them. The decision to build onto a Volvo P1800 platform was mine. I noticed the similarity between the Lusso's windshield, A-pillar, and side windows with the P1800, which incidentally was designed in Italy. I used the P1800 as a platform for the Lusso mold plug. With the exception of the windshield frame, every surface and the overall dimensions of the P1800 were changed with metal work, MDF, urethane foam, fiberglass, and Bondo to transform it into a facsimile of the Lusso. Our replica is not identical in any way. We had to settle for very close. We did not have access to a real Lusso to get measurements or make plans or templates. I had a photo file of pictures that were downloaded from the internet, and I had to approximate everything by trying to scale dimensions from those photos."
During the building lockdown scene, the security guard is reading the November 2009 issue of Playboy Magazine, for which director Brett Ratner shot a pictorial that featured his then-girlfriend Alina Puscau.
When Josh (Ben Stiller) bails and picks up Slide (Eddie Murphy) from Riker's Island, Josh starts talking about a car named a Nova. When Murphy starred in Beverly Hills Cop (1984), he drove a "crappy, blue Nova."
Kate Upton: the Victoria's Secret model appears as Mr. Hightower's mistress. Her actual photo from one of their ad campaigns is later seen in the Victoria's Secret store window, as Josh goes in to steal the underwear.