Mesa and Detroit.. The Next Movie Meccas?

Mesa city council recently approved a rezoning of 55 acres at Hawes and Germann roads for Gateway Studios.  Of course, it is convenient that Arizona has a significantly sized movie infrastructure tax credit.  If you ask me this whole thing reeks of land developers going for a quick handout.

I am all for bringing new economies into Metro Phoenix.  I am not sure that subsidization that is quite this heavy is the right approach.  It would be wonderful if this deal brought significant film production here, but I remain skeptical.  If it’s any consolation Detroit is doing a similar film incentive.  Have I mentioned before that “Incentives Kill Creativity?”  What are your thoughts?


  1. I think comparing anything to Detroit is a scary thought. 😉

    They shot “The Kingdom” out in Mesa, right? Off the 202? Hollywood was looking for barren desert and didn’t want to travel someplace where a whacko local might kidnap a staffer or blow themselves up. There was a time when such scenes would be fast vanishing from our landscape out here. It makes sense that land developers would be looking for that quick cash, especially these days.

    Detroit, on the other hand, is likely popular for another type of desolation. Run down, dilapidated ghettos when a studio needs a scene reminiscent of RoboCop. Broken windows, graffiti, laid off UAW members huddled ’round fires talking about how someone should do something about all this.

    These incentives are designed to bring money into the city. They aren’t in place in pursuit of nurturing a creative, Arizona film industry. To me, this seems more like our “representatives” continuing to whore us out to the highest bidder. The people will subsidize the multi-million dollar projects that will then leave town with only minimal, short term benefits.

  2. Mesa seems content to live or die by retail and tourism. Gaylord, water park, riverview and now this movie deal.

    When will these cheapskates just adopt a damn property tax and pay for improvements themselves?

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