Adding Insult to Fiscal Injury


New Mexicans shouldn’t feel too bad about the early box office for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. At just $8 million, it’s unlikely to recoup its $35 million budget, at least not while the film is in theaters.

Starring Margot Robbie and Tina Fey, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was shot in the Land of Enchantment, where taxpayers are compelled to subsidize Hollywood to the tune of tens of millions of dollars each year. During the post-Super Bowl broadcast of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the following exchange took place:

COLBERT: Where was it actually shot? ‘Cause it really looks like it’s in Afghanistan.

FEY: Thank goodness, we shot it in New Mexico, here in the United States of America.

COLBERT: That took a lot of courage, for you guys to go to New Mexico.

FEY: I was so worried about a Breaking Bad scenario happening.

ROBBIE: Lotta missing teeth.

It’s not the first time that entertainers have insulted New Mexico. As the Albuquerque Journal reported in 2010, during an E! interview, Mary McCormack, of In Plain Sight, “appeared to cringe when mentioning Albuquerque, and agreed with host Chelsea Handler when she said the city is ‘boring.'” The following month, the Journal noted that “Jessica Alba … said that we have bad food and that the highlight of her time here was hanging out at Walmart. Tommy Lee Jones chimed in, saying Albuquerque is simply too loud and inhospitable.”

So New Mexico’s taxpayers provide revenue for tourism promotion, while at the same time subsidizing actors who insult the state. Nice going, economic-development “visionaries.”