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5 of the biggest blockbuster films made in Utah

By Grant Olsen, Contributor | Posted - Feb. 23, 2017 at 2:01 p.m.

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY — With its dramatic scenery, diverse terrain and talented locals, Utah has been a reliable filming location since the early 1920s. In the beginning, most of the movies were Westerns like "Stagecoach and The Covered Wagon."

Since that time, moviemakers have found new ways to feature Utah’s unique landscape and landmarks in their films. The more than 900 films that have been made in the Beehive State fall into a diverse spectrum of genres, including science fiction and comedy.

As luck would have it, many of these movies have gone on to see enormous box office success. This list looks at five of the largest blockbusters filmed in Utah.

"Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" ====================================

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Released: 1989
  • Production budget: $48 million
  • Worldwide gross: $474,171,806
  • Utah locations include Arches National Park This beloved action film begins with a young Indiana Jones exploring Arches National Park. He encounters a gang of robbers and a train chase ensues. It’s pretty cool to think the origins of Indy’s artifact preservation began in Utah.

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"Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" is widely considered to be one of the best movies in the series and was the top-grossing film of 1989.

“Independence Day”

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Released: 1996
  • Production budget: $75 million
  • Worldwide gross: $817,400,891
  • Utah locations include the Bonneville Salt Flats

    If you saw any movies in 1996, it’s likely you saw “Independence Day.” It was an international phenomenon with jaw-dropping special effects and Will Smith at his most “Will Smith.” It was also the highest-grossing film of the year and was nominated for two Oscars, ultimately winning for Best Visual Effects. "Dumb and Dumber" =================

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Released: 1994
  • Production budget: $17 million
  • Worldwide gross: $247,275,374
  • Utah locations include Ogden, Salt Lake City and Park City With by far the smallest budget of any film on this list, “Dumb and Dumber” cleaned house at the box office, and it was no flash in the pan. The movie has attracted a cult following and it’s likely that nearly everyone reading this list can quote at least one or two lines from it. The success of “Dumb and Dumber” has led to a prequel, sequel and television series, though none of them came close to achieving what the original film did.

“Forrest Gump”

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Released: 1994
  • Production budget: $55 million
  • Worldwide gross: $677,945,399
  • Utah locations include Monument Valley Based on Winston Groom’s novel of the same name, “Forrest Gump” was a smash hit with critics and audiences alike. It featured state-of-the-art special effects and a beloved performance from Tom Hanks. The film won Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Director, Best Visual Effects, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing at the Academy Awards. The movie’s infamous running sequence actually ends on Utah’s Highway 163, near Mexican Hat.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” ==========================================

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Released: 2007
  • Production budget: $300 million
  • Worldwide gross: $963,420,425
  • Utah locations include the Bonneville Salt Flats The plots to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies are notoriously convoluted, but audiences still show up in droves. The third in the series, “At World’s End,” made nearly $1 billion at the box office and was the highest-grossing film of 2007. It also includes epic shots of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Of course, there are many locally-filmed blockbusters that aren’t included on the list. Share your favorites in the comments.

![Grant Olsen](\.jpg?filter=ksl/65x65)
About the Author: Grant Olsen \-----------------------------

Grant Olsen joined the contributor team in 2012. He covers outdoor adventures, travel, product reviews and other interesting things. He is also the author of the book “Rhino Trouble.” You can contact him at


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