Patricia Calhoun on Denver’s fab Westword blog site gives a list of the best movies shot in Colorado. It’s a good list. But what it really hammers home is that there has been very little production in Colorado since around the mid-2000’s, which is when competitive Film Incentives – or Colorado’s lack of them – really began to bite.
Since then, Colorado’s tremendous crews, talent, equipment and locations have not been able to trump the allure of other States’ incentive programs. To illustrate, all of the films listed below (total production budgets +/-$300 million), with given Colorado locations, filmed elsewhere:
About Schmidt – 2002
Jack Nicholson’s road trip to his daughter’s wedding ends in Denver, but filmed in Omaha.
Production Budget: $30 million
Blades of Glory – 2007
The pivotal World Winter Sports Games at the start of the film takes place at the Denver Arena. It filmed in Montreal.
Production Budget: $53 million
Alien versus Predator – 2007
A space ship carrying a Predalien – really, you’d have to be there – crashes in Gunnison, CO. The movie filmed for 52 days in Vancouver though.
Production Budget: $40 million
Catch and Release – 2007
Yes it’s set in Boulder and yes it’s got Jennifer Garner, but it filmed mostly in Vancouver.
Production Budget – $25 million
I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer – 2006
In another one of those implausible twists, the Fisherman Killer follows a group of teens away from the ocean to a Colorado cabin. It filmed in Utah.
Production Budget – $65 million
Matador – 2005
Assassin Pierce Brosnan’s work takes him to Vienna,, Vegas, Sydney, Budapest, Manila and others, but the emotional heart of the film is at Greg Kinnear’s home in Denver. The whole thing shot in Mexico City.
Production Budget – $10 million
Day of the Dead – 2008
Day of the Dead begins in Leadville but films in Bulgaria.
Production Budget – $18 million
The Prestige – 2006
Christopher Nolan scouted Colorado Springs for the site of Nikola Tesla’s Colorado laboratory but ultimately filmed it on a sound stage in LA
Production Budget – $40 million
And whilst True Grit – 1969, filmed in Buckskin Joe Frontier Town & Railway in Cañon City, Cañon City, Castle Rock, Gunnison, Montrose, Ouray, Owl Creek Pass and Ridgway, True Grit 2011 – production budget $38 million, filmed in Texas and New Mexico.
So Colorado can continue to loose out on $300 million worth of investment in less than a decade, or it can add ten cents to the price of a movie ticket. In my opinion, that’s a ludicrously small price to pay.