Four decades ago, the stage musical Saturday’s Warrior set record after record for 134 consecutive sold out performances. More than 500,000 copies of the Saturday’s Warrior album were sold making it certified gold.
Now in 2016, the release of the major motion picture version of Saturday’s Warrior is setting new box office records. The film opened on Friday, April 1 in nine theaters in Utah, and fans turned out in droves to experience Saturday’s Warrior on the big screen.
From stage to screen
Saturday’s Warrior became a phenomenon of LDS culture after its debut in the early 1970s. Lex de Azevedo, the creator of the original musical, resisted the call to create a film version of Saturday’s Warrior for decades. “People have been asking me for years and years to create a film, and not a week goes by that someone stops me to tell me how Saturday’s Warrior affected them,” said de Azevedo. “Finally the time was right. Michael Buster, Jarrod Phillips, my daughters Emilie and Rachel and I were able to put together an incredible cast and crew in order to bring Saturday’s Warrior to the big screen for all its existing fans and hopefully new ones.”
Just as California was the launch pad for the original musical, Utah is the launching point for the film version into other markets. “Based on how the film performs here and how many fans outside of Utah demand it dictates where the movie opens next,” said Brandon Purdie, president of Purdie Distribution, the distributor of the film.
Selling out Utah
The film sold out five theatres at Jordan Commons on its premiere night, and that was only the beginning.
“The response really has been overwhelming,” said Purdie, reacting to the showings that sold out at theatres from Logan to St. George. “We were confident the film would perform well during its opening weekend, but it exceeded all our wildest dreams.”
“I can't thank the fans enough for coming out to support Saturday's Warrior,” said de Azevedo. The film cracked the top 30 grossing films in the U.S. on its opening weekend “and on only nine screens,” he continued.
The filmmakers treated moviegoers to an additional opening weekend surprise at many of the showings. Members of the cast, including leads Kenny Holland, Mason Davis, Anna Daines and many more, greeted fans at the theatres after they had seen the film. The actors stayed to sign autographs, pose for pictures and spread the word about Saturday’s Warrior.
For more information on Saturday’s Warrior or to request the movie open in your hometown, visit its Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/saturdayswarrior.