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Box-office for Mormon missionary movie gets Hollywood's attention

Published October 23, 2013 8:35 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Hollywood has taken notice of "The Saratov Approach," the little made-in-Utah movie that could.

The thriller about kidnapped LDS missionaries has packed Utah moviehouses in its first two weeks of release, reports the Hollywood trade paper Variety. The movie has earned $500,000 on 23 screens in Utah — and made on its opening weekend (Oct. 11-13) a per-screen average of $11,000, the highest for a limited-release film that weekend.

According to Variety, the figures are being driven by young Mormons who tout the film to their friends via social media.

"Normally, you have moms and dads saying to their kids, 'Come on, let's go support our heritage,'" said Brandon Purdie, whose company is distributing the film. "The difference with this film is that you see young audiences carrying the movie."

The movie, which was partly filmed in Utah, will expand its distribution this weekend to the "Mormon Corridor" outside Utah, in such markets as Mesa, Ariz., and Boise, Idaho. Further expansion — to Denver, Los Angeles, Houston and Sacramento — is set for Dec. 6.