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After only a week and in just nine theatres, Saturday’s Warrior has shown it is still the cultural phenomenon it was four decades ago. On its opening weekend, the movie cracked the top 30 films across the country at the box office. This past Monday, it jumped into the top 20 nationwide, and Tuesday’s box office outperformed the day before – something nearly unheard of in the movie industry.

A phenomenon of LDS culture after its stage debut in 1974, 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,” he said.

Lightning in a bottle
In 1975, Saturday’s Warrior ran 134 consecutive sold out shows in Spanish Fork and Salt Lake City. Only Broadway and Elvis in Las Vegas have experienced runs like that. When Saturday’s Warrior debuted in Phoenix, it sold more tickets in two hours than Elton John, at the height of his popularity, did in two weeks. As they say in Hollywood, Lex and Doug had definitely caught lightning in a bottle.
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Fast forward 40 years. The album went gold, the musical has been performed thousands upon thousands of times throughout the world, and now the feature film adaptation is open in theatres and has ignited a new passion for Saturday’s Warrior.

Bringing it back
Several years ago, while living in and serving the people of Brazil, Lex had a powerful feeling that now was the time to bring Saturday’s Warrior back to its original fans and introduce it to a new generation of fans. “Finally the time was right, and 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.”

Just as California was the launch pad for the original musical, Utah is the launching point for the film version into other markets. “Based the film performance over the past few days, and how this weekend goes dictates where the movie opens next,” said Brandon Purdie, president of Purdie Distribution and the film’s distributor. “These opening shows have been incredible! With box office numbers like this and social media popularity, theatre chains throughout the country take note.”

Saturday’s Warrior opens in 18 new theatres this weekend throughout Utah and will continue to play in the original nine theatres in which it opened. “We are so excited for more and more fans to have the opportunity to see Saturday’s Warrior,” said de Azevedo. “I can feel history repeating itself. I’m confident the movie, just like the musical, will spread throughout the country and beyond.”

For more information on Saturday’s Warrior or to request the movie open in your hometown, visit its website at saturdayswarrior.com

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