Chocolate Industry

The State of Utah’s Film Industry • Salt Lake Magazine

In the May/June 2022 issue of salt lake, we celebrate Utah’s film heritage. Read our 10 favorite Beehive State movies. Revisit Utah’s dances with the devil with beloved (and less-loved) horror films. Celebrate the iconic cinematic history of the magnificent landscapes of Monument Valley.

It’s hard to miss something you’ve never really had (and Utah hasn’t had one since the days of John Wayne). But Utah got a taste of the big moment when a high-profile TV show – Paramount’s Yellowstone— filmed its first three seasons in the state, grossing $80 million in local revenue. This was short-lived, however, when the series, starring Kevin Costner, moved production to Montana. While 2021 has seen a small rebound from an abysmal 2020, and Utah’s film industry has shown overall growth since 2005, that growth has leveled off. Film industry professionals blamed Utah’s cap on film incentives.

The idea of ​​Utah’s Motion Picture Incentive Program is to give film productions enough tax credits to make filming in Utah worthwhile, especially compared to places that have more established infrastructure, like LA or Georgia. But losing a big production in Montana of all places? Ouch. Of course, Montana just raised the movie tax incentive cap to $12 million in 2021, and local industry professionals fear Utah could lose more productions if the state doesn’t follow suit.

It might be time, however, for a second act for the Utah film industry. Heading into the 2022 Utah legislative session, Utah’s film incentives were capped at $8.3 million, one of the lowest annual caps in the United States. Then the legislature passed SB 49, raising the cap to $12 million for productions based in rural areas. Originally, the bill removed the cap entirely for rural productions, and Kevin Costner threw his weight behind it. the Yellowstone star promised to bring five feature film productions, a series titled Horizon, in Utah if the ceiling went away. Time will tell if simply raising the ceiling will suffice.

Even if this only applies to rural Utah, film production in rural areas has accounted for a quarter of all shooting days in Utah over the past five years, and between 2017 and 2020 it There have been more permits granted for rural areas than for urban areas, according to data from the Utah Film Commission.

While it may cost the state more to raise the film tax incentive cap, the same report found that, since 2014, for every tax credit dollar spent, on average, $5.10 is donated to the Utah economy.

This also does not include ripple effects; the study shows that film tourism has driven 2.2 million trips to Utah and $6 billion in value to the state over the past 10 years.


Not all film productions play in Utah. There’s a slew of Hallmark-style holiday movies filming here, like Netflix’s. Best Christmas Ever and Fall for Christmas (with Lindsay Lohan), both awaiting 2022 release dates, and other 2021 titles such as:

A perfect vacation for life

Candy-Coated Christmas on Discovery+

mistletoe mix on Amazon Prime

Sister Swap: A Hometown Vacation on the Hallmark Channel

Sister Swap: Christmas in the City on the Hallmark Channel

A bridegroom for Christmas for life

Housewives of the North Pole on Peacock

hot chocolate vacation for life

As the old saying goes, if you’ve seen one of these films, you’ve seen them all: A career-driven woman leaves the big city and her job as a journalist (or baker, or writer, or business owner). a small shop) and comes to a small town to rediscover its humanity, its ability to love and the true meaning of Christmas.


Olivia Rodrigo in “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” (Photo by Nathalie Cass/Courtesy of Disney+)

Once upon a time, Utah was also the go-to production location for Disney TV movies and series, but those days may be over. by Disney High School Musical: The Musical: The Series filmed its first seasons in Utah at a fictional East High (the original musical high school the film was shot at the present-day East High in Salt Lake City), but it moves production of the final season to LA Andi Mac began filming in Utah in 2017 but wrapped production in 2019, and there hasn’t been much movement since. The pandemic could be partly responsible, of course. At the time of this publication, the Utah Film Commission has not revealed any Disney productions for 2022, but it’s still early in the year. Here are some other movies shot in Utah that you can probably stream on Disney+:

Don’t look under the bed (1999)

Johnny Tsunami (1999)

The luck of the Irish (2001)

Poof stitch (2001)

Double team (2002)

Right on track (2003)

go to the mat (2004)

Halloweentown High (2004)

bison dreams (2005)

Go figure (2005)

Life is Ruff (2005)

read this and cry (2006)

Back to Halloweentown (2006)

Minutemen (2008)

Draped (2009)

Pete’s Hatching (2009)

Good luck Charlie, it’s Christmas! (2011)

Cloud 9 (2014)