Updated: Jan 20, 2022
The revitalization of the iconic movie set is essential to bring movie production back to southern Arizona
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 1860-1900 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 The set will be open this fall for guided tours for the public. The tours will be led by film historians who will be trained and certified. VIP (one-on-one) tours, school tours, and group tours will also be available. Special Events Portions of the set will be available for special events such as professional photo shoots, weddings, family reunions, corporate, and other events. Historic Re-enactments The set is networking with other historical groups and museums for special events both onsite and alternative locations. Western Heritage Education Every building will provide an educational venue for day-to-day life in a frontier town with its authentic props. Docents, many of whom are local actors, will be on set as "streetmosphere" in period costume. Craftsmen such as blacksmiths, leather crafters, and others will provide insight into their trade. 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 over one billion dollars in film production that created jobs, and built an infrastructure of sets and soundstages benefiting their local companies. 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.