Daily Variety is an awesome publication. And you don't have to be a Hollywood insider or be in entertainment to appreciate it. My girl, who is nowhere near the entertainment industry, subscribes to it, and each Tuesday, there is a list of the highest-grossing movies in the country by theater. Usually, the list includes theaters such as AMC Empre 25 in Times Square, Regal Union Square 14, El Capitan Hollywood, or Pacific ArcLight Hollywood. But two weeks ago (the weekend of November 21-23), the numbers were flipped on their head. The New York and LA theaters were there, as well as AMC Garden State 16. So that's five of the top 10 - nothing too unusual there. But look at 4 of the other top 10 theaters:
1. Twilight, Larry Miller Megaplex 20, South Jordan, UT
2. Twilight, Larry Miller Jordan Commons 16, Sandy, UT
3. Bolt, El Capitan Hollwood, Hollywood, CA
4. Twilight, Pacific ArcLight Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA
5. Twilight, AMC Emprire 25, New York, NY
6. Twilight, Larry Miller Gateway Megaplex 12, Salt Lake City, UT
7. Twilight, Regal Union Square 14, New York, NY
8. Twilight, AMC Garden State 16, Paramus, NJ
9. Twilight, Larry Miller Megaplex 13, Ogden, UT
10. Twilight, Regal Irvine Spectrum 20, Irvine, CA
My girl saw the list and was immediately curious. Utah screens never appear in this list. So after some Google searching, we found this and this and this. While I do not believe that Twilight is Mormon proaganda, it is a case study in how a text from a Mormon artist (Stephanie Meyer) can attract and retain a strong Mormon following.
Also, financially speaking, it has been quite a year for Mormons. They spent millions sponsoring the campaign to pass Proposition 8 in California and they spent millions going to see Twilight. There is no connection, of course. But it is just so damn curious.
If someone told me two years ago that sanitized vampire fiction would be the runaway youth pop culture hit in the wake of the final Harry Potter book, I'd laugh out loud. I'm not laughing now. Sexless vampires are big business.