Yellowstone inspires Texas to woo filmmakers with tax breaks after losing out to surrounding states

Surrounding states with similar environments have been chosen to represent Texas on film

Tom Murray
Monday 27 March 2023 19:42 BST
Yellowstone season 5 trailer

The state of Texas is vying to introduce new tax benefits for filmmakers thanks, in part, to the success of Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone series.

The Western drama starring Kevin Costner was filmed in the small town of Venus, Texas, providing a vital boost to the local economy.

However, many TV shows and films set in Texas are not actually filmed there because surrounding states offer more attractive tax incentives to producers.

In 2022, the entertainment industry pumped $1.5bn (£1.22bn) into the economies of New Mexico, Louisiana and Oklahoma, according to The Hollywood Reporter, much of which was spent on projects set in Texas.

These states have similar natural environments to Texas, but with more attractive tax incentives.

New Mexico, for example, offers filmmakers refundable tax credits of 25 to 35 per cent on in-state spending up to $110m (£89.6m).

If the new bill, introduced in the Texas state legislature on 7 March, is passed, films/shows will be eligible for 30 to 42.5 per cent tax credits on in-state spending with no cap.

Kevin Costner in ‘Yellowstone’
Kevin Costner in ‘Yellowstone’ (Paramount)

In February, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said: “My goal is for Taylor [Sheridan] to move all of his TV and movie production to Texas. Working together, I think we can get it done.”

Yellowstone has been mired in some controversy of late over reports that its lead actor Costner is leaving the series over disagreements with Sheridan about shooting schedules.

The actor’s attorney refuted this claim, stating: “The idea that Kevin was only willing to work one week on the second half of season five of Yellowstone is an absolute lie.”

Some reports have gone as far as suggesting that True Detective star Matthew McConaughey was being considered for a “franchise extension” should Costner leave the role.

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