Kane County residents will have something special to celebrate when they join movie goers worldwide on opening night for the new Disney motion picture John Carter on Friday, March 9.

Though they’ll be seeing the movie for the first time, Kane’s residents will also be saying “Welcome back.” John Carter spent five months in Kane County, where much of the movie was filmed.

To celebrate, a special opening-night screening and reception have been planned by the Kane County Office of Tourism and Film Commission, and the Center for Education, Business and the Arts.

John Carter will open locally at Crescent Moon Theater in Kanab (150 South 100 East). To kickoff the opening night showing, a brief program featuring Utah Film Commissioner Marshall Moore and local people who worked on the film will begin at the theater at 7 p.m. The movie will begin shortly afterward.

“The program is going to highlight local participation in the film. We want to highlight that and celebrate it,” said CEBA Executive Director Kelly Stowell.

About 275 people from Utah worked on the film, many of whom were local to Kane County. They included props and set designers and builders, electricians, truck drivers, security guards, caterers, and a few people you’ll see on-screen as extras.

“They put a lot of local people to work temporarily,” Stowell said. “Disney spent about $19 million in the state.”

“We want to invite locals who worked on the film to join us for the opening premier,” he said. “It absolutely is open to the public, and we want to celebrate the connection, great work and involvement our local community had with the movie.”

Crescent Moon Theater is accepting ticket reservations now for event.

Prior to the program and screening, the Kane County Office of Tourism and Film Commission will host a reception at 6 p.m. at its offices (78 South 100 East).

John Carter continues southern Utah’s tradition as a prime filming location because of its particular and diverse landscape.

Stowell said, “The storyline of John Carter takes place on Mars, and the producers and location crew found Kane County’s red-rock landscape as close as they could come. Our landscape – not just the red rock, but also the diversity – is a big reason why Hollywood came to Kane County in the first place. Within an hour’s distance you have a huge diversity of landscape, from sand-dune deserts, to quintessential Western landscape, to high-country forest. The most beautiful scenery you’ll ever come across is here in southern Utah.”

Ken Gotzen-Berg, director of the Kane County Office of Tourism and Film Commission, said, “Kane County is extremely proud to be a part of this movie. John Carter represents the county’s reinvigorated efforts to bring movie production into the area. Of course this area has a long history with movie making – over 100 major productions and television series have been filmed in our backyard, from classic Westerns to science fiction. This heritage has earned us the nickname ‘Little Hollywood.’”

As the county’s tourism director, Gotzen-Berg said the film will be good promotion for Kane County as word gets out it’s where the movie was filmed.

“The same backdrops that inspired Disney to come to Kane County continue to inspire thousands of visitors every year. Families from all over the world make Kanab their vacation headquarters when they come to experience such world class sites as the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce national parks, Lake Powell, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, and other parks nearby. Being able to stand where famous movies were shot just adds to the enjoyment of the area. Southern Utah offers a safe, relaxed getaway – even, like John Carter of Mars, an ‘out of this world’ experience.”

To reserve tickets for the local premiere of John Carter and the pre-showing program, call Crescent Moon Theater at (435) 644-2350.