With that, millions of viewers have seen the state through the screens of TVs and movie complexes.
Now, the New Mexico Department of Tourism wants to get those viewers out of the cineplexes and living rooms and into the landscape of New Mexico.
The Tourism Department and the New Mexico Film Office are working together on “New Mexico Film Trails,” a series of maps showcasing movie locations and things to do in those areas. The program was unveiled at Albuquerque Studios on Monday.
“We’ve been working together for nearly a year on getting this done,” said Monique Jacobson, state secretary of tourism. “It’s been a great partnership with both offices working together to build tourism.”
The program is broken up into six trails over the state – Northwestern, North Central, Northeastern, Southeastern, Central and Southwestern.
It also has facts about the productions that were filmed in those areas.
“Filming popular movies is a way to advertise the state,” said Gov. Susana Martinez. “People will travel long distances and this gives us the tools to get them here. With more than 600 films shot in New Mexico, the possibilities are endless.”
Nick Maniatis, director of the New Mexico Film Office, said the program could generate revenue for the state and help small businesses.
“We want everyone to benefit from this program,” Maniatis said. “We have jewels around the state that are just sitting there. This program is more than I expected it to be.”
Jacobson said the state partnering with Disney kept the cost low for taxpayers.
The map is available online, and Jacobson said the state paid $5,000 for the printed literature.
“Partnering with Disney really gives us an opportunity for a worldwide audience,” Jacobson said. “We’re also planning to expand the program as more productions come here.”
Jacobson also said Disney is running a contest for “The Lone Ranger” called “Ride for Justice,” which features a trip out to New Mexico as a grand prize.
“It’s great because every time ‘The Lone Ranger’ is mentioned, people have the chance to see that New Mexico is the grand prize,” she said.
Disney was also helpful in getting the 300 writers from around the world acquainted with New Mexico during the press junket held in Santa Fe last week.