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'Ultimate Life' Cast, Crew Practice Film’s Message

9 Dec, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

'The Ultimate Life' cast members Abigail Mavity (left), Drew Waters, Austin James and executive producer Rick Eldridge.

Executive producer Rick Eldridge and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment are hoping lightning strikes twice.

When their feel-good, family-first film The Ultimate Gift hit theaters in 2007, its total box office take was only $3.4 million, half of that coming on opening weekend. But when Fox released the film on DVD that August, by November it had made more than three times the theatrical take.

Now, Eldridge and the studio are hoping for a similar reaction to the prequel/sequel to Gift, The Ultimate Life, which saw a limited theatrical release in September, pulling in $1.3 million. The DVD and Blu-ray Disc street Dec. 10.

The film follows a young Jason Stevens (Logan Bartholomew) who is selected by his grandfather (James Garner) to run a successful foundation, resulting in his extended family suing him. During the power struggle, Jason discovers his grandfather’s journal, and in it, his grandfather’s rags-to-riches tale.

While the film may be aimed at the religiously faithful, its tale of family over money and questions of what’s really important make it easily digested by a wide-ranging audience, said Eldridge, who executive produced both films.

“I think it’s a great, continuing story from Ultimate Gift, and it has a great fan base,” Eldridge said Dec. 3, after presenting (along with cast members) an Ultimate Life-themed mobile entertainment cart to children at Children’s Hospital of Orange County. “The thing I love about it best is that it’s been shown in Jewish synagogues, Catholic high schools and public high schools. Its message is about what matters most.”

Following its initial success on DVD, Fox re-released the first film on Blu-ray in late 2011. The second film is getting both DVD and Blu-ray in its initial run for a reason, Eldridge said.

“There’s a lot to identify with here for all ages, and that’s the definition of a great family movie,” he said. “It’s one that people want to own.”

Ultimate Life was cut down from more than three and a half hours to its current run time of less than two hours, giving Fox plenty of ammo for the bonus features. Bonuses include “The Heart of The Ultimate Life,” interviews with nearly every cast member, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes and the “One Life” music video.

To see images from the event, click here.

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