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SALT LAKE CITY — The State of Utah has served as the backdrop for nearly 1,000 theatrical and television films since the early 1920s. And many of these films, such as “Forrest Gump” and “Independence Day,” have gone on to major commercial success.
But, they all can’t be winners. When you’re dealing with almost 100 years worth of movies, there are bound to be a few box office clunkers. This list looks at five locally-made films that didn’t reach the same heights as the luminaries on our previous list.
- Rating: G
- Released: 1956
- Production budget: N/A
- Worldwide gross: N/A
- Utah locations include St. George and Hurricane
This John Wayne flop was shot mainly in the St. George area, downwind from a nuclear testing range. Some of the cast and crew later died of cancer, which may have been tied to exposure at hazardous sites. Producer Howard Hughes felt so guilty about the film’s problems that he reportedly bought all available prints and kept it from the public. He never produced another film.
- Rating: PG
- Released: 1981
- Production budget: NA
- Worldwide gross: $12,617,845
- Utah locations include Moab and Monument Valley
Marred by controversy, the film was a bust and won Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Actor (Klinton Spilsbury), Worst New Star (Klinton Spilsbury), and Worst Musical Score. Lead actor Klinton Spilsbury actually called it quits after the movie bombed, making this his last film.
- Rating: PG-13
- Released: 2013
- Production budget: $215 million
- Worldwide gross: $260,502,115
- Utah locations include Dead Horse Point State Park, Moab and Monument Valley
- Rating: PG-13
- Released: 2012
- Production budget: $250 million
- Worldwide gross: $284,139,100
- Utah locations include Moab and Big Water
- Rating: R
- Released: 2002
- Production budget: $115 million
- Worldwide gross: $77,628,265
- Utah locations include Monument Valley
Some criticized the film for giving the Navajo characters supporting roles, while others took issue with its many historical errors. One website even dubbed it one of the “10 most inaccurate military movies ever made.” To get a firsthand account of the Code Talkers’ important contribution to World War II, click here.