The Jordan Megaplex Re-Releases a Classic Movie in Anticipation of the Other Side of Heaven 2 set to be Released in June
The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith, releases in theaters nationwide on June 28th, but it follows in the footsteps of its predecessor from the year 2000, The Other Side of Heaven. And last night, in the midst of blockbuster summer releases, Megaplex’s Jordan Commons theater devoted valuable screen space to reintroducing the original film to an entire new generation.
The Other Side of Heaven tells the true story of Elder John H. Groberg’s first mission to Tonga as a young man, whereas The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith, relates the faith-filled journey of Elder Groberg’s return to Tonga only nine years later with his wife and five young daughters to serve as Mission President.
“President Monson was insistent that I write a book about my second mission to Tonga as Mission President, not just my first mission,” Elder Groberg explains. “In some ways my second mission was more dramatic and faith-filled than the first, and I am humbled that a major motion picture has been produced about both of them.”
Opening in only two theater locations in Utah (one of which was the very same Jordan Commons Megaplex), the original movie thrived for months inside a number of Utah theaters and was eventually exhibited on over 300 screens across the U.S. attaining today’s equivalent of nearly $8 million in box office receipts. Walt Disney Home Entertainment distributed the film in DVD with an estimated 4 million units sold in the U.S. alone.
The success of the film in the U.S. led to worldwide distribution in dozens of countries and languages, including television distribution in numerous Muslim territories and pirated DVD’s sold throughout China.
“I remember calling Elder Groberg on the phone to tell him how sorry I was about the pirated DVD’s,” the movie’s producer and director, Mitch Davis, recounts. “He taught me a great lesson when his response was one of gratitude that the spirit of the movie would be felt by so many of the Chinese people by whatever means.”
And last night, in preparation for the imminent release of its sequel, the original film was shown to a new generation of movie-goers, including dozens of youth from the world-renowned One Voice Choir who performed at the mini-premiere and debuted a music video they produced of their rendition of one of the movie’s featured songs, “Love At Home.”
“When they sang, it was like a choir of angels,” Elder Groberg praised. “I was so touched by their spirits and impressed by their talent.”
The re-premiere also featured a performance by Tongan dancers performing a traditional laka laka dance depicting the First Vision of Joseph Smith followed by a personal tribute to “Kolipoki” (Elder Groberg’s Tongan name) by Ailine Lao, one of the dance group’s directors.
“Half the people living in Tonga now were influenced to be better people by someone who was directly influenced by Kolipoki to be a better person. We love him and thank him for his service,” Ailine Lao said. “And now, through these amazing movies, the influence of our tiny island has been felt all around the world!”
In a remarkable coincidence, President Russell M. Nelson, prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, flew into Tonga the same night Elder Groberg’s first movie was re-premiered in Jordan Commons and, in a subsequent meeting with the King and Queen of Tonga, he noted that 62% of the island’s inhabitants profess membership in the Church.
“It just goes to show you the prophetic vision of President Monson,” Elder Groberg praises. “If he hadn’t insisted I write those two books, I would have never recorded the events that are now the subjects of not just one but two major feature films. I would have never thought to do that myself. I’m just glad I obeyed him!”
And so are the hundreds of millions of people throughout the world whose spirits have been lifted by the sometimes harrowing, sometimes hilarious adventures of Elder Groberg’s missionary journeys to Tonga as seen in 2000’s The Other Side of Heaven and 2019’s The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith, opening nationwide on June 28th.