Soul Surfer

April 8th 2011
  • Drama/Family,
  • PG,
  • 106 min,
  • Sony Pictures
  • Cast: AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, Craig T. Nelson, Kevin Sorbo, Jeremy Sumpter, Carrie Underwood, Lorraine Nicholson, Kim Morgan Greene, Wesley Mann, Irie Driscoll, David Chokachi, Cody Gomes, Chris Brochu, Sonya Balmores, Christie Brooke, Dutch Hofstetter, Tiffany Hofstetter, Branscombe Richmond, Patrick Richwood, Kelly Crean, Arlene Newman-Van Asperen, Faith Fay, John Mitchell Fultz, Mark Kubr, Troy Manandic, Joshua Margulies, Sean McNamara, John Philbin, Kaleo Relator, Ross Thomas
  • Director: Sean McNamara
  • Writers: Sean McNamara, Deborah Schwartz, Douglas Schwartz, Michael Berk, Matt Allen, Caleb Wilson, Brad Gann, Bethany Hamilton, Sheryl Berk, Rick Bundschuh
  • Producers: David Brookwell, Dutch Hofstetter, Sean McNamara, Douglas Schwartz
  • Co Producers: Ronald Bass, Joey Paul Jensen, Christina Lambert, Corey Schwartz, Susie Singer Carter, Jennifer Smolka, Shelley Trotter
  • Associate Producers: Rob Deege, Becky Hamilton, Noah Hamilton, Tiffany Hofstetter, Laurie Koris
  • Executive Producers: Dominic Ianno, David Tice, David Zelon, Ricardo S. Galindez, Roy Tjioe
  • Castings: Joey Paul Jensen, Niner Parikh
  • Costume Design: Kathe James
  • D.O.P.: John R. Leonetti
  • Editor: Jeff Canavan
  • Makeup: Mark Garbarino
  • Music: Marco Beltrami
  • Production Design: Rusty Smith
  • Set Decoration: Julie Smith


"Soul Surfer" is the true story of competitive teen surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack and courageously overcame all odds to become a champion again, inspiring millions worldwide through her sheer determination and unwavering faith.

Basic Information

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Filming Locations: Hawaii, USA
  • MPAA Warning: An intense accident sequence and some thematic material
  • Production Budget: $15 million
  • Production Companies: Brookwell-McNamara Entertainment, Enticing Entertainment, Island Film Group, Life's a Beach Entertainment, Mandalay Vision

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2011 Guide Analysis: "Aiming to embrace the heartland the way inspiring sports dramas like "The Rookie" and "The Blind Side" did, this tale of a young girl's triumph over adversity has a strong enough concept that it'll potentially cross over in a way few faith-based films truly achieve. Plans for this film existed since shortly after the shark attack in 2003 and Hamilton's subsequent recovery. The original plan was to begin production in 2005 but there were numerous delays over the years with at least six writers having a go at the script, while the film's director McNamara wasn't attached until 2007.

Though primarily based on Hamilton's 2004 biographical book, McNamara and producer David Brookwell interviewed the family to learn about unpublished conflicts to include in the film. These included family members questioning their faith, Bethany struggling with her physical appearance, and the stress the media attention brought on the family. Hamilton turned pro in 2007, after which McNamara and producer David Brookwell sought more material for the film.

Shooting took place in Hawaii in early 2010 with some additional shooting in Tahiti in August 2010. Robb wore a green sleeve on her arm so 450 visual effects shots could be added in post-production to create the appearance of a stump. This understandably pushed the budget above the original $15 million estimate. Yet when the final product was delivered, FilmDistrict was impressed enough to scrap its original plans for a release in 300 theaters in favor of a much wider 2,000 theater opening with the help of TriStar Pictures.

The book and film are targeted at Christian readers with the film having already screened for religious leaders. Those religious elements however proved a point of contention throughout the film's production with executives at Mandalay Pictures lobbying to reduce the film's Christian elements so the film could appeal more to secular audiences, specifically two scenes quoting scripture. The Hamilton family objected to the changes so both scenes remain intact. Whether that will turn away secular audiences it's hard to say."

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Worldwide Release Dates

  • 17 June 2011: Spain, UK
  • 8 July 2011: Italy