Cowboys and Aliens, John Favreau's futuristic answer to the über-successful Avatar, is a 3-D journey into a Southwestern conflict between settlers in Silver City, Arizona, who must resolve their differences when an alien spaceship crash-lands in their city.
The movie is set to start filming in July -- in Randsburg, California. Where better to shoot a movie set in Arizona than Southern California, right? It may sound ludicrous to the average moviegoer, but for the studio, it just makes sense.
Countless movies (like 3:10 to Yuma, which was filmed in New Mexico) supposedly based in Arizona are filmed elsewhere because other states offer tax incentives for studios to film there.
When a big studio comes to any town to film a movie, it brings with it hundreds of people who spend money at local businesses. With all the cool stories that Arizona offers the cinematic world, the state is missing out on some serious cash when they film those stories elsewhere.
There have been several efforts to get state government to offer tax incentives comparable to states like California and New Mexico for studios to film movies in Arizona -- including one last year that was brushed aside by legislators trying to solve the state's budget crisis.
Mesa is in the process of building a studio capable of producing large-scale movies, but without the necessary tax incentives, the studio could go to waste.
Unfortunately, the Mesa studio is not a case of "if you build it, they will come" -- it's more a case of "get the Legislature off its ass and offer these money-machine movie studios some tax incentives, and they might come."