In an unprecedented movie industry success, "The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith," increased its per showtime average 86% inside Utah’s Megaplex theaters in week six of its release. This comes after already increasing its performance 33% the week prior.
“This is a good indication of how much people in Utah like our movie,” said the movie’s director and producer, Mitch Davis. “And people are finally realizing it won’t be in theaters forever.”
Davis called it “a modern-day movie miracle” that his faith-promoting, independent film has successfully competed with five Disney blockbusters in a row and survived six weeks at the box office.
“I used to work for Disney but, right now, it’s pretty hard not to hate those guys,” Davis quipped before listing "Aladdin," "Toy Story 4," "Avengers: End Game," the new "Spiderman" and, most recently, "The Lion King," as movies his film battled with for the last month and a half.
“Seriously, it has been hand-to-hand combat trying to book and hold screens against those big movies,” Davis said. “And there are 13 more major releases coming up in the next month. Anyone in Utah who wants to see 'The Other Side of Heaven 2' inside a theater better not wait around. We won’t be in theaters forever.”
"The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith" will be re-released in response to hundreds of requests from around the U.S. and at the encouragement of Elder John H. Groberg, an emeritus general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (and the man whose life the film is based on). Not only will it show in theaters in Utah, but it is also hitting the big screen across the U.S. People can see it in hundreds of theaters outside Utah on Sept. 16 and 17.
“Far too many people who wanted to see the movie in a theater outside of Utah didn’t get the chance,” Davis said. “In many places, the movie came and went too quickly, and there were many places it never got exhibited at all. Elder Groberg wants us to fix that sooner rather than later. The nationwide encore is our answer.”
“There is something truly special about the experience of seeing this film inside a theater with an audience,” Groberg said. “One sister told us our movie turned the theater into hallowed ground for her. We just want as many people as possible in as many places as possible to have that faith-promoting experience, especially in some of the outlying areas of the Church.”
Davis explained that in response to Groberg’s desires and the audience requests, he is offering to send the film to any accredited theater with a committed audience of 50 or more people.
“We just need to cover our costs of booking the theater and shipping the film,” Davis said. “This is not about anyone making money.”
Groberg concurred. “The Savior commanded us to take the gospel into all the world. We are taking that commandment seriously in the way we distribute this film. All the world starts with all the U.S.,” he said.
Groberg had special praise for Cal Gundersen and his colleagues at Megaplex Theatres for the consideration he has have been shown when visiting screenings around the state.
“Jean and I have visited a number of theaters over the last few weeks and been treated with such kindness and generosity,” Groberg recounted. “Gail Miller and Cal Gundersen and everyone who works for them have treated us with such kindness. The older Jean and I get, the more that kindness matters!”
Davis said, “Audiences in Utah get kind of spoiled with many LDS-themed films coming their way and sticking around for weeks at a time. We need people in Utah to go see the movie now, not later. And they need to tell their friends and family outside Utah that they can see our movie too in one of our encore performances. All they need to do is get 50 people committed to attend and email us a request.”
Those wanting to book an encore screening should email their request by Aug. 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org.