The beauty of its backdrop is one of the things that sets “Yellowstone” apart. But that backdrop changed a bit between Season 3 and Season 4.
The show’s producers decided earlier this year to abandon their location from Seasons 1-3 – Park City, Utah. Instead, they decamped to Missoula, Montana.
‘Yellowstone’ Moves to Montana
Why? Well, because Utah’s tax incentive program stops at $8.29 million a year total, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. And in the film industry, incentives factor heavily into the production planning process.
But does Hollywood really need that money? “Yellowstone” co-creator Taylor Sheridan says yes.
Tax credits are “not giving money to millionaires,” Sheridan told the Tribune last year. “It’s giving money to construction workers and drivers and catering companies and electricians.”
Sheridan said he hires up to 110 construction workers, 45 electricians and 40 drivers at a time on the set of “Yellowstone.” And now he’s employing them in Montana, not Utah, because the show’s producers had reason to think they wouldn’t be getting the same tax rebates they had in Seasons 1-3.
Plus, the Montana legislature just passed a new $10 million tax credit for productions filming in the state. (By comparison, New York caps tax incentives at $440 million and New Mexico limits them to $110 million.)
“They feel like they’re forced to because of Montana’s shiny new $10 million incentive that they just passed last year,” Marshal Moore, vice president of operations at Utah Film Studios, told the Tribune. “That and the fact that our film commission and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development can’t offer them really anything at the moment.”
Missoula, Montana Welcomes the Show
Utah’s Film Commission director told the Tribune that available funding for 2021 is limited. She said they most likely will not approve requests for rebates of 20-25% of production costs.
Meanwhile, Montana’s tax incentive program provides rebates at anywhere from 20% of production costs ranging up to 35% of costs.
So now “Yellowstone” is pouring money into the local economy of Missoula. And audiences are getting to enjoy a slightly different flavor of the Western landscape.