Legendary Benson Movie Set up for Revival

Credit: Mescal Movie Set/ Kartchner Ventures

By Mescal Movie Set

The Mescal Movie Set, the home to the movies “Tombstone,” “The Quick and the Dead,” and more than 80 other westerns, was recently acquired by local ranchers and saved from destruction. The set was in an advanced state of deterioration, which limited its appeal to film production companies. The new owners, Kartchner Ventures, have started a complete renovation and expansion of the set.

Extensive plans are in place to renovate the 27 existing buildings, all of which need complete makeovers, from stabilizing foundations, renovating interiors and exteriors, and replacing roofs. New buildings will be added, including a church, blacksmith shop, stage depot, and other essential structures. The set will be rebuilt as an 1860-1920 era Western frontier town, with interiors staged with appropriate furniture, tools, and props. The plan will enable all the renovations and additions to be compatible with a production company’s filming needs.

An authentic frontier town is ideal for western film production and allows the set to create alternative uses and revenue streams. The alternative use plans will not interfere with film production and are essential for the set’s long-term growth and expansion. The plans include public tours, special events, historic reenactments and Western heritage education.

Southern Arizona and Tucson has a long history of movie production that supported businesses, created jobs, and lured tourist dollars into local economies. Much of which was lost when Arizona eliminated its film tax incentive over a decade ago. New Mexico and other neighboring states stepped in and have received more than $1B in film production that created jobs and built an infrastructure of sets and soundstages benefiting their local communities. Once completed, the Mescal Movie Set can be a catalyst to help lure film production and increase tourist dollars back into Arizona’s economy. It will also network with the Arizona Legislature to revitalize efforts to regain an equitable film tax incentive. (Source)

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