SALT LAKE CITY -- The Governor's Office of Economic Development has approved incentives for eight more films that plan to shoot in Utah.
That's the largest number of films approved at once, although only one of the movies is a big-budget film poised to be a blockbuster.
The big film is "The Lone Ranger," starring Armie Hammer in the title role and Johnny Depp as Tonto, with Jerry Bruckheimer as producer. The Disney film has been shooting at various locations around the Southwest and moves its production to Moab in July.
The seven other films are independent productions with smaller budgets, and all plan to shoot in Northern Utah, said Marshall Moore, Utah Film Commission executive director.
"It's the most film incentive applications to be approved at once since the beginning of the program, in 2004, in terms of quantity," Moore said. "There have been other meetings with more dollars involved."
The Motion Picture Incentive Program offers film companies up to 25 percent of the dollars left in the state in the form of a post-performance tax credit or cash rebate.
Since the MPIP was created, 95 film projects have received funding, creating more than 5,000 production jobs and 2,000 production days. The projects are responsible for leaving nearly $178 million in the state.
"We have a wide variety of projects, with the BBC, independent Utah-based production companies and companies outside the state," Moore said.
"We have a variety of projects with different budgets, which is how our program has to operate. If one studio came in here and shot its whole film, it would shoot our whole budget."
The eight films approved for incentives last week are:
* "The Lone Ranger," based on the classic Western adventure. It is estimated to prepare and shoot in Utah for 27 days and spend about $9.1 million.
* "White Grizzly," about a man-eating grizzly/polar bear hybrid strategically hunting down humans in a small Alaskan town. Length of preparation and production is 35 days. The film is expected to spend $3.5 million in Utah.
* "3 Days in Vegas," a comedy about an ex-boyfriend and girlfriend forced together to collect $10 million in Las Vegas lotto winnings. They don't trust each other or the various Mafia members trying to steal the tickets. The production is 22 days and estimated to spend $2 million in Utah.
* Untitled docudrama, by BBC Worldwide Reality Productions. The production will be about 33 days long, and makers expect to spend about $980,000 in Utah.
* "Forks in the Road," the story of two pioneer men from the Martin Handcart Company who face enormous challenges. The production will be about 22 days and will spend about $646,420 in Utah.
* "Nightlight," a thriller about teens who play a seemingly innocent game in the woods and find themselves fighting supernatural foes. The production will be about 25 days and expects to spend about $700,000 in Utah.
* "Back Door to Heaven," about a little girl who finds access to heaven and uses it to help people, but at a cost. The length of film production is 18 days, and the company expects to spend about $450,000 in the state.
* "K-9 Christmas," about a police dog who is injured during a bank robbery and separated from his owner, then found by a girl whose father is closer to the bank robbers than she knows. The production will be about 22 days and expects to spend about $350,000 in Utah.