Utah Thanks 'John Carter' For Creating Jobs, Infusing Almost $20 Million into State Economy

John Carter Taylor Kitsch Solo - P 2012
Frank Connor/Disney

John Carter Taylor Kitsch Solo - P 2012

Andrew Stanton's much-hyped Disney film cost more than $250 million to make, but only scored $30.6 domestically in its opening weekend.

Given John Carter's less-than-stellar performance at the domestic weekend box office, director Andrew Stanton is quite possibly having a not-so-great, post-opening Monday.

The Pixar veteran's first live-action film raked in only $30.6 million in North America, while generating a total of $101.2 million internationally; despite the global numbers, industry experts consider John Carter a loss for Disney. The sci-fi epic starring Taylor Kitsch cost $250 million to produce -- but with the marketing bill tacked on, the budget runs nearer to $350 million.

Stanton, however, can take solace in the support of the state of Utah, where filming took place in 2010. In a press release, the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development said John Carter generated almost $20 million to benefit the state economically and helped create 275 production jobs.

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"There were great jobs provided to local film crew and benefits to businesses in rural Utah, including lodging, car rentals, catering, carpentry and security," said the department's executive editor, Spencer Eccles. "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 post-performance tax credit or cash rebate."

Meanwhile, in another go-Utah, go-John Carter statement, Leigh von der Esch, who heads the Utah Office of Tourism, added: "Movies showcase the state’s scenic beauty to attract visitors because travelers often want to see the locations after they’ve seen the films."

Von der Esch said the tourism office's trade team was in Berlin promoting John Carter -- and Utah, of course -- at the global trade show ITB.

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"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," said Utah Film Commission director Marshall Moore, referring to the forthcoming Jerry Bruckheimer movie co-starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer.

The Lone Ranger, slated for release in May 2013, has also been hampered by financial issues; production shut down in August due to budget bloat, but following some cuts, the film was back in the saddle a month later.