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Fox Unveils 'Napoleon Dynamite' Statue on the Lot

9 Jun, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

CENTURY CITY, Calif. — Wearing decade-old “liger” T-shirts and the biggest smiles on the 20th Century Fox studio lot, Fox Searchlight Pictures presidents Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula marked the 10th anniversary of Napoleon Dynamite June 9, unveiling a statue of actor Jon Heder’s iconic character.

In its 20-year history, Fox Searchlight Pictures has more than 140 pictures under its belt, but it’s Napoleon Dynamite that holds the record as the No. 1 selling home entertainment title from Fox Searchlight, with more than 7 million copies sold to date.

“It’s one of Searchlight’s greatest success stories,” and “the most fun we’ve ever had,” Utley said. “We fought hard to acquire it. It continues to find more viewers and more success in the marketplace.”

Heder said he “knew who the character” of Napoleon was right when he read the script for the first time, and that his on-screen persona “just flowed naturally.”

“More than anything, people responded to [our] version of adolescence,” said the film’s writer and director, Jared Hess. “People have come up to me since then and said ‘That’s a documentary of my life.’” He noted that the film was on a budget of $400,000, and didn’t even have an opening title sequence when it first screened at Sundance.

It finished with $44.5 million at the domestic box office.

Actor Efren Ramirez (Pedro) joked that “his voice was a little different” back then (sounding exactly the same). “I was just hoping I didn’t mess up, that what I was doing with Pedro worked,” he said.

Actress Tina Majorino (Deb) said the reason the main characters worked so well together on screen was because “they didn’t fit in anywhere else.”

Earlier this year, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released a 10th anniversary combo pack edition of Napoleon Dynamite, including a commentary, deleted scenes, a still gallery, a making-of featurette and more. Marking the 20th anniversary of Fox Searchlight Pictures, the studio is offering several titles for the first time on Blu-ray Disc, as well as anniversary editions and themed collections. 

About the Author: Chris Tribbey

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