The Beehive State is Making a Big Impact in Hollywood

A look into how Utah is making its way into the world of fame and lights



The map of Utah being shown with many landmarks and places that make Utah was it is.

It all started in 1969 when Butch Cassidy met the Sundance kid in Zion national park and it went from there. For the past 50 years, the state of Utah has made a huge influence in the entertainment industry. From movies to inspiration for songs, the 84,899 miles of land this state presides on has shown that Utah is more than a land of Salt. 

Hollywood Reporter
A still taken from the first Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

The first major production to take place on Utah soil was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This movie was filmed in Zion National Park and it showed all of the beautiful sites of Zion, which really put Utah on the map. Before this movie came on the screens, Utah was seen as a primarily rural state and that was all there was to it. After the release of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the tourism in Utah spiked and it was just the beginning of showing just what Utah had to offer. 

The lit-up sign that is loved by everyone who gets a chance to visit the film festival in Salt Lake City

In the year following the huge blockbuster that was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the first official entertainment experience made its way to Utah. This experience was called Sundance Film Festival, which was properly named after Sundance Valley and the Sundance Kid. his film festival opened in 1978 and was a huge success. This was an opportunity for filmmakers to broadcast their work to film fanatics who wanted to see all the new and up incoming films. It originally had a slow start, but now is a huge draw to come to Utah during the months of January and February.

Hollywood has made a huge impact in the state of Utah financially and it made Utah more relevant. According to the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, they say the Utah film and television industry is booming. There is a certain draw to Utah that no one can put their finger on. Maybe it is the scenery or the utter amount of talented young individuals that Utah produces, Utah just has a huge appeal that is being shown a lot more now.


Disney Channel
A still taken from the basketball game in the movie Luck of the Irish. This takes place in the main gym of Juan Diego High School.

A huge company that has found Utah as a good place to make movies is Disney. The amount of content produced by Disney in Utah is insane. Huge productions have even been filmed at Juan Diego like Luck of the Irish and Halloweentown High. They filmed the show, Andi Mack, in downtown Salt Lake City and the hit made for TV movie, Cloud 9 was filmed at Park City High School and at the Canyons Resort.The most successful production to be filmed in Utah was probably the High School Musical Franchise. The filming took place only

Representation of the two different casts that have made up the High School Musical Franchise

18.4 miles away from Juan Diego in downtown Salt Lake City at East High School. This very popular series of movies which starred Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens made its screen debut in 2006 and quickly rose to the top of the list for the best Disney made for TV movie. After the making of two more movies, the franchise had seemingly ended, until production of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series made its debut on Disney+, which brought a huge wave of High School Musical fans past and present to be a Wildcat and visit the actual East High School.

There has also been a draw to Utah in the music industry through the rapper Post Malone. Originally hailing from Syracuse, New York, Austin Richardson Post, also known as Post Malone, has found a forever home, two actually, in the state of Utah. One of which is in Little Cottonwood Canyon which is not far from our small school in Draper. Post Malone has even used his Utah ID in a recent Doritos commercial. Sometimes there are even people who go to his favorite restaurant Porcupine Grill to maybe get a chance to see the star in real life.

It has been known for a very long time that Utah has a lot to offer but the recent publicity coming to the Salt Lake Valley is making Utah a top tourist destination. Things like The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City and the possible question of Winter Olympics SLC 2030 is giving the name of Utah a whole new meaning. Locals have always known this state has a lot of promise to offer and it’s about time to show the rest of the world. It also helps that we have the best powder on the planet.