'Gosh!' Cult comedy 'Napoleon Dynamite' turns 15

In this May 3, 2019, photo, Aaron Ruell, who played the character Kip, left, and Jon Heder, who played Napoleon Dynamite, hug during a photo-op as they celebrate the 15th anniversary of the cult classic comedy "Napoleon Dynamite," in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
This 2004 photo provided by Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount Pictures shows Jon Heder, as Napoleon Dynamite, right, and Efren Ramirez, as Pedro, in a scene from the cult classic comedy "Napoleon Dynamite." (Twentieth Century Fox/Paramount Pictures via AP)
This 2004 photo provided by Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount Pictures shows Jon Heder, as Napoleon Dynamite, in a scene from the cult classic comedy "Napoleon Dynamite." (Twentieth Century Fox/Paramount Pictures via AP)
In this May 3, 2019, photo, "Napoleon Dynamite" memorabilia is shown during a 15th anniversary celebration of the cult classic comedy, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
In this May 3, 2019, photo, a fan wears a Pedro shirt during a photo-op with cast members of "Napoleon Dynamite," as they celebrate the 15th anniversary of the cult classic comedy, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
In this May 3, 2019, photo, from left to right, Aaron Ruell (Kip), Shondrella Avery (LaFawnduh), Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), Emily Dunn (Trisha) and Efren Ramirez (Pedro) pose during a photo-op as they celebrate the 15th anniversary of the cult classic comedy "Napoleon Dynamite," in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
In this May 3, 2019, photo, from left to right, Aaron Ruell (Kip), Shondrella Avery (LaFawnduh), Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), Emily Dunn (Trisha) and Efren Ramirez (Pedro) pose during a photo-op as they celebrate the 15th anniversary of the cult classic comedy "Napoleon Dynamite," in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
This 2004 photo provided by Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount Pictures shows Jon Gries, as Uncle Rico, from left, Jon Heder, as Napoleon Dynamite, and Aaron Ruell, as Kip, in a scene from movie "Napoleon Dynamite." (Twentieth Century Fox/Paramount Pictures via AP)
In this May 3, 2019, photo, Shondrella Avery, who played the character LaFawnduh, hugs a fan wearing a Pedro shirt during a photo-op as they celebrate the 15th anniversary of "Napoleon Dynamite," in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
This 2004 photo provided by Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount Pictures shows Jon Gries, as Uncle Rico, from left, Jon Heder, as Napoleon Dynamite, and Aaron Ruell, as Kip, in a scene from movie "Napoleon Dynamite." (Twentieth Century Fox/Paramount Pictures via AP)
In this May 3, 2019, photo, Aaron Ruell, who played the character Kip, and Shondrella Avery, who played LaFawnduh, hug during a photo-op as they celebrate the 15th anniversary of "Napoleon Dynamite," in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY — The cult comedy Napoleon Dynamite turns 15 years old this month, a milestone for a movie that became an early breakaway hit in today's era of pop-culture geek celebration.

The movie that created the "Vote for Pedro" T-shirt and made Napoleon's disgusted exclamation of "gosh!" into a 2004 catchphrase is celebrating its anniversary this month.

Made for just $400,000, it would ultimately gross over $46 million as a word-of-mouth hit before Twitter and Facebook took off.

The movie told the story of its socially awkward title character, who ultimately triumphed because of his quirks rather than in spite of them. Its success added to a rising profile for unapologetic nerds just before hits like "The Big Bang Theory" ushered in a new era of geek glory.

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