Church Distributing Meet the Mormons DVD, Blu-ray through Retail Channels

Contributed By Camille West, LDS.org Church News

  • 24 April 2015

Devin Shelley, awareness director for the Church’s Publishing Services Department, stands by a Meet the Mormons DVD and Blu-ray display in a Wal-Mart store.  Photo by Holly Shelley.

The Church is partnering with Wal-Mart, Amazon, and Costco to distribute the DVD and Blu-ray release of its popular Meet the Mormons documentary.

According to Devin Shelley, awareness director for the Church’s Publishing Services Department, that’s unprecedented. “This is the first time a Church or Deseret Book product has been in almost every Wal-Mart store nationwide, and we hope it won’t be the last,” he said. 

Meet the Mormons, the first feature-length documentary commercially released by the Church, also has been the number one selling new DVD on Amazon under two categories: Faith & Spirituality and Documentary. 

The movie’s commercial success will help pave the road for future faith-based DVDs in these same commercial distribution channels, Shelley said. “But we need to have strong in-store traffic and sales at Wal-Mart to keep that dream alive.”

Having a presence in retailers like Wal-Mart is convenient not only for members who wish to purchase the DVD—especially in cities where there are no Deseret Book stores—but also for people not of our faith. “Members of other faiths are curious about Mormons,” said Brother Shelley. “So being able to bump into a product like this at a store where they already shop is both convenient and safe for them. Plus, members and nonmembers get to support their local economy.”

This release includes vignettes about the six Saints featured in the movie version and also introduces Giovanna Nezhati, an Italian-born artist who started Dinner on Us, an initiative that feeds the homeless in Las Vegas on a monthly basis. In the bonus seventh segment, called “The Artist,” Sister Nezhati shares how the initiative has helped strengthen her relationship with her nonmember husband with what she feels is an inspired call to serve and uplift others.  “Part-member families are an important part of our diversity,” said Devin. “I think people will applaud and embrace this new story.”

The DVD contains bonus features unavailable elsewhere, with soundtracks in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, and includes a “making of” feature with exclusive footage detailing behind-the-scenes efforts to find, select, and film the Church members profiled in the film.

Along with commentary from producer Jeff Roberts and director Blair Treu is David Archuleta’s “Glorious” music video. “Glorious,” produced exclusively for Meet the Mormons, has been viewed more than 2.6 million times on YouTube.

Back in October of 2014, Meet the Mormons achieved surprising box office success, ranking in the nation’s top 10 during its opening week in just over 300 theaters and becoming one of the most successful documentaries ever. As promised, the Church donated the net proceeds from the film—$1.8 million—to the American Red Cross on March 12.