Economic development leaders in Utah are optimistic that the release of John Carter from Walt Disney Studios will create interest in the state as a tourism destination. Emery, Grand, Kane, Millard, and Wayne counties were used as a backdrop for the movie that opened nationwide on Friday, March 9, 2012.  The film is based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels about a Civil War veteran who finds himself on Mars.

“The film generated nearly $20 million in economic benefit to the state and created 275 production jobs for Utah-based production crew during the filming in 2010,” said Spencer Eccles, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). “There were great jobs provided to local film crew and benefits to businesses in rural Utah, including lodging, car rentals, catering, carpentry, and security. This Disney movie came to Utah because of our Motion Picture Incentive Program (MPIP) that now offers film companies up to 25 percent of the dollars left in the state in the form of a post-performance tax credit or cash rebate.”

“Movies showcase the state’s scenic beauty to attract visitors because travelers often want to see the locations after they’ve seen the films,” said Leigh von der Esch, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism and Film, an agency of GOED. “Utah’s iconic landscapes are featured prominently in the film, near the cities of Big Water, Kanab, Mt. Carmel Junction, Moab, Hanksville and Delta.  Disney has been showcasing Utah scenery in promotions with the movie in theaters in the United Kingdom, and our travel trade team is in Berlin promoting John Carter and Utah at the worldwide trade show ITB.”

“Walt Disney Studios has been a valued partner for John Carter and other films shot in the state,” said Marshall Moore, director of the Utah Film Commission. “We are looking forward to the next Disney production that will come our way this summer with the filming of The Lone Ranger in Utah and surrounding western states.”

Since the MPIP was created in 2004, 95 film projects have received funding, creating more than 5,000 production jobs and 2,000 production days. The projects are responsible for leaving nearly $178 million in the state. Recent films apart from John Carter that have received the incentive include all three High School Musical movies and the Oscar-nominated 127 Hours.

More than 900 films and television movies have been shot in Utah. Formed in 1974, the Utah Film Commission is a part of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and is a member of the Association of Film Commissioners International.

For information about filming in Utah, visit or contact the Utah Film Commission at (800) 453-8824 or (801) 538-8740.