Kevin Costner is coming to Utah — and he’s joined by Taylor Sheridan of “Yellowstone” fame, Clive Owen who stars in a new FX series and Jerusha Hess, co-writer of “Napoleon Dynamite.”

They’re a part of the 13 productions approved Thursday by the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity under Utah’s newly restructured rural tax incentive program that will bring an estimated $142.5 million to the state.

The announcement marks the most productions to take place in rural Utah in a single year since at least 2010, said Jeff Johnson, president of the Motion Picture Association of Utah.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had that much spending in rural Utah for film,” he said. “This is really going to be great for rural Utah — it’ll be great for Utah in general, for the crews and the actors that work here.”

Among them is Costner’s long anticipated western “Horizon: An American Saga,” a five-part series that the actor says will funnel around $50 million into rural Utah.

In a February statement, Costner said Utah had always been his ideal location for the series, and lobbied lawmakers to pass SB49, an increased tax incentive that would make the state more appealing to productions of that caliber.

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“I’ve dreamed for a long time about making my movie in Utah and scouting the state has been an incredible experience. My biggest hope is that the state backs SB49 and that dream becomes a reality. I don’t really want to go anywhere else with these five movies,” Costner said.

Passed during the last legislative session, the State Film Production Amendments bill exempts rural productions from the limits on the state’s annual tax incentive program.

According to the governor’s office, rural Utah will see 90% of the funds expected to come from the 13 productions.

It wasn’t an easy bill to get through the legislature — some lawmakers objected to what they called a “handout to Hollywood millionaires and billionaires,” and it stalled in the House until the final week of the session. It ultimately passed the House on a 50-22 vote, and the Senate with seven objections.

The state’s prior incentive, capped at $8.3 million annually, was dubbed inadequate by stakeholders in the film industry. When Utah had several large productions vying for a rebate — as was the case with “Yellowstone” and the Disney Channel’s “High School Musical” remake — the cap limited what each show could receive, regardless of how much it spent. 

Despite receiving around $7 million in rebates for seasons prior, the available kickback for Season 4 of “Yellowstone” was substantially smaller. So Paramount packed up and moved to Montana, ending three years of production that dumped nearly $80 million into Heber City, Oakley, Kamas, Grantsville and Logan.

But now Sheridan, the brain behind the popular modern western, is coming back to Utah to film an untitled series, according to the governor’s office.

To be eligible for a rebate, the production has to submit its budget for the Utah Film Commission to review — it then gets recommended to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, which approves the budget. Once the production actually spends the money, it’s subjected to an audit before it’s eligible for the rebate.

Film productions in Utah are often hailed as economic boons, with immediate impacts felt across the hospitality, construction and outdoor industries. The economic ripples often go beyond what can be quantified in a rebate. Sometimes cast or crew buy homes in the state, return for ski vacations, post on social media — Costner even hired a hunting guide.

San Juan County Commissioner Bruce Adams, who met with Costner while he was scouting locations for “Horizon,” applauded the news Thursday in a statement.

“Once these film companies and employees are here, the dollars they spend in our local hotels, restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations will spread even further and bring much needed economic activity to the rural parts of the state that need it most,” he said.

Johnson said the flurry of new productions is a byproduct of growing demand for movies and shows, many of them westerns, a genre that has seen a recent resurgence. And while Utah’s mix of open skies, alpine terrain and red desert makes it the ideal location for productions like “Horizon,” he said productions of all shapes and sizes are coming to the state in the wake of the recent incentive.

“We’re doing all kinds of different productions,” Johnson said. “The incentive is what gets them here, and they stay because Utah is a great place to work.”

The productions, which are slated for Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, FX/Hulu, Nickelodeon, Paramount+ and theatrical release, are:

“Alma Richards: Raising the Bar”

  • Estimated spending in Utah: $879,108.
  • Location: Utah County .
  • Independent distribution.

“Cub Scout”

  • Estimated spending in Utah: $1,107,114.
  • Locations: Sanpete County.
  • Distribution to be determined.

“The Chosen: Season 3”

  • Estimated spending in Utah: $1,400,327.
  • Location: Utah County.
  • Independent distribution.

“Dark Highway”

  • Estimated spending in Utah: $4,004,367.
  • Locations: Emery, Juab and San Juan counties.
  • Independent distribution.


  • Estimated spending in Utah: $10,271,416.
  • Location: Tooele County.
  • Distributed on Amazon Prime.

“Horizon: An American Saga”

  • Estimated spending in Utah: $53,925,008.
  • Locations: Emery, Grand, Kane, San Juan and Washington counties.
  • Distribution to be determined.

“Joy To The World”

  • Estimated spending in Utah: $8,300,000.
  • Locations to be determined.
  • Distribution to be determined.

“Recipe For Love”

  • Estimated spending in Utah: $328,268.
  • Locations: Salt Lake, Utah counties.
  • Independent distribution.

“Retreat: Season 1”

  • Estimated spending in Utah: $1,407,920.
  • Locations: Emery, Grand and Tooele counties.
  • Distributed on FX/Hulu.

“The Streak”

  • Estimated spending in Utah: $183,500.
  • Locations: Salt Lake and Weber counties.
  • Independent distribution.

Unnamed “Green Beans” show

  • Estimated spending in Utah: $10,700,000.
  • Locations to be determined.
  • Distributed on Apple TV+.

Untitled movie

  • Estimated spending in Utah: $9,966,336.
  • Locations to be determined.
  • Distributed on Nickelodeon.

Untitled Taylor Sheridan series

  • Estimated spending in Utah: $40,000,000.
  • Locations: Summit and Wasatch counties.
  • Distributed on Paramount+.