It's been one year since "Letters to God" released in theaters and as a book. I asked author and screenwriter Patrick Doughtie to let Christian Activities readers know what has been going on with "Letters to God" over the course of the past year.
KD: Tell me about the "Letters to God" movie and book a year later.
Patrick Doughtie: It's been a great year. hard to believe everything that's gone on since the release!
KD: Do you have figures on how many books & DVDs were sold, how many saw the "Letters to God" movie in theaters, etc?
Patrick Doughtie: I don't have exact figures on DVD's, have been attempting to find out. I know the first two months over 600,000 were sold and know it has continued to sell well within the faith-based markets and main stream as well. In fact, Sam's Club has a brand new display of Letters to God and Veggie tales for Easter time, think it may be basket fillers, I'm not sure. And I know they're getting ready to do a price reduction within CBA, or Christian markets, with the movie so they'll a whole new marketing push on it. If I'm not mistaken, I believe DVD sales are numbering around 1 million. As for the theaters, it stayed for 11 weeks but only grossed $3m, I believe the figures for seats were around 500,000. I think if the marketing was better more would have known it was out there and would have seen it.
The great thing is that it's been around the world. So far, as much as I know, it's been in S. Africa, Australia, Indonesia, S. America, the UK, Canada and other places in Asia. Someone on facebook let me know it played in the largest theater in Jakarta.
KD: What kinds of response has "Letters to God" had from folks?
Patrick Doughtie: The response over the movie has been tremendous. Facebook is wonderful in the fact that it allows fans and other cancer parents to connect with me. I've received hundreds and hundreds of messages thanking me for making it, stating how it's changed their lives, they value their family more, changed their outlook of life. One woman from Seattle who considered herself agnostic stated her mother begged her to go with her, she did and thanked me stating she now believes in God and will spend the rest of her days living as a warrior for god, like Tyler. That Sunday was to be the first time she's ever stepped foot in a church!
So the response has been wonderful! I didn't care what the critics reviews were, they've never mattered in my decision making process of whether I'd like a film or not, in fact, typically, I love what they hate and hate what they say go see, which has been the reaction from viewers and movie fans! The film has reached the people it was supposed to reach and will continue for many years, that's all that matters, not how much money had been made.
I received another message from a woman thanking me stating that her one copy she bought, she loaned to her mother, who loaned it to her church and then to their youth groups and stated that over 800 people viewed her one copy of the film, which is what God intended for the film.
As for the books, the novel made the New York Times best seller list 3 weeks in a row last April and has sold over 100,000 copies. It was recently (January 2011) translated into German and released in Germany. Awaiting news of how it's doing over there. My children's book sold around 30,000 copies to date. All the other books had mediocre sales.
KD: What is next in the works for you after "Letters to God?"
Patrick Doughtie: As for what's next for me, I've been waiting for God to reveal it to me. I continue to write screenplays, I'm in the middle of a really good one at the moment. I also am writing a non-fiction book that I'm hoping howard books will publish. I recently turned in a proposal to them and am waiting word on whether they want it. I also have 3 non-fiction projects I'm working on turning scripts into books.
I'm hoping to make another film but as most independent filmmakers, funding is always an issue so I'm waiting for an investor to come along or to partner with a church or other non-profit. I have plenty of stories but lack the funding at the moment but I'm confident it'll be there when it's supposed to.
Update from Patrick Doughtie: May 10, 2012
After two years, the movie continues to touch people and I continue to receive messages from a lot of people. I'm amazed. It's been to Germany, South Africa, India, Brazil and other parts of South America. I'm still writing scripts. Have a great one I'm finishing up, a kids comedy about bullying. We're trying to raise funds for it now. We already have support of a non-profit that's focusing on anti-bullying. Two NFL players involved and on-board, just need money to produce it.