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The Cricket
Sean P. Means
Sean is the movie critic and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket.

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Mormon missionaries Travis Tuttle (Corbin Allred, left) and Andrew Propst (Maclain Nelson) are held captive by Russian abductors in "The Saratov Approach." Courtesy Three Coins Productions
Box-office for Mormon missionary movie gets Hollywood’s attention

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.

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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.

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