Feature Films by LDS/Mormon Filmmakers and Actors
Weekend Box Office Report (U.S. Domestic Box Office Gross)

Weekend of February 1, 2002

[If table lines up improperly, use mono-spaced font, i.e. Courier]
Natl  Film Title                       Weekend Gross
Rank  LDS/Mormon Filmmaker or Actor    Total Gross   Theaters Days
----  ------------------------------   -------        -----   ----
15    Ocean's Eleven                   $2,056,615      1,541    59
      LDS characters: Malloy twins    178,908,056

29    Behind Enemy Lines                  252,458        409    66
      David Veloz (screenwriter)       57,802,467

36    Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure     99,428         16   360
      Scott Swofford (producer)         7,188,129
      Reed Smoot (cinematographer)
      Sam Cardon (composer)
      Stephen L. Johnson (film editor)

36    The Other Side of Heaven             91,297         35    52
      Mitch Davis (writer/director)     1,292,907
      John H. Groberg (author/character)
      Gerald Molen, John Garbett (producers)
      Steven Ramirez (film editor)

37    Mulholland Drive                     81,305         72   119
      Joyce Eliason (producer/writer)   6,545,178

44    The Singles Ward (NEW)               46,649         11     3
      Kurt Hale (writer/director)          46,649
      John E. Moyer (writer)
      Dave Hunter (producer)
      Cody Hale (composer)
      Ryan Little (cinematographer)
      Wynn Hougaard (film editor)
      Actors: Will Swenson, Connie Young
         Daryn Tufts, Kirby Heyborne
         Michael Birkeland, Bob-O Swenson
         Lincoln Hoppe, Tarance Edwards
         Michelle Ainge, Gretchen Whalley
         Sedra Santos

51    Out Cold                             30,018         88    75
      A. J. Cook (female lead)         13,850,403

66    Galapagos                            11,151          3   829
      Reed Smoot (cinematographer)     12,256,938

73    China: The Panda Adventure            6,624          5   192
      Reed Smoot (cinematographer)      1,897,615

80    Island of the Sharks                  3,821          3  1011
      Alan Williams (composer)         10,625,038

91    Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man      1,215          2   640
      Reed Smoot (cinematographer)     13,056,971

103   Mark Twain's America in 3D              499          1  1312
      Alan Williams (composer)          2,147,730

The big news this week in LDS film was the premiere of Kurt Hale's new comedy "The Singles Ward." The gala benefit premiere was on Wednesday, January 30th, after which the film opened in eleven theaters on February 1st. The budget has been reported as $425,000 or $450,000. Either way, it made over 10% of its budget back in box office ticket sales in its opening weekend, with a 3-day total of $46,649. This gave "The Singles Ward" a per-theater average of $4,241, which was enough to put it on the Top 10 list nationwide for per-theater revenue. (It was number 10.)

"The Singles Ward" ranked 44th nationwide in total box office revenue, and 5th on this list of films by and/or about Latter-day Saints/Mormons.

Critical reaction to "The Singles Ward" was mixed. Audiences seemed to love it, as did some of the critics. The Utah Statesman gave it an enthusiastic "A", and the Ogden Standard-Examiner gave it a favorable review and 2 1/2 stars. Eric D. Snider of the Utah County Daily Herald proved once again that he doesn't play favorites with locals, giving it a C- . The Desert News gave it 2 stars and the Salt Lake Tribune gave it 1. (Tribune critic Sean Means thought the humor might be too "inside" for people outside Utah/LDS culture to enjoy. Of course, nobody has actually watched the film with an "outsider" audience, so this seems like conjecture.)

With two Mormon casino bandits, "Ocean's Eleven" is STILL the top money-maker of this list, dropping from 11th place last week to 15th this week after 59 days in release. "Behind Enemy Lines" dropped slightly from 27th to 29th place nationwide -- quite respectable considering the film has been out over two months.

"The Other Side of Heaven" and "Mulholland Drive" were in 36th and 37th place nationwide for the second week in a row. "Heaven" is essentially only playing in Utah, Idaho and Austin, Texas (where one of its major investors lives). The Austin Chronicle reviewed "Heaven" favorably and gave it 2 1/2 (out of 4) stars. As the movie continues to open around the rest of the country it MIGHT become the top grossing film in the short history of modern "LDS Cinema" (movies made by AND about Latter-day Saints). But it still has a ways to go before it catches up to "God's Army."

[NOTE: Data for the LDS-made IMAX film "Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure" arrived late, which showed THAT film was in 36th place nationwide, pushing "The Other Side of Heaven", "Mulholland Drive" and "The Singles Ward" back one spot.]

LOOKING AHEAD: We're just two weeks away from the release of "Out of Step" the Canadian-Utah-New York film about a Latter-day Saint dancer in the Big Apple. "Out of Step" was produced by Cary Derbidge, directed by Ryan Little ("The Last Good War"), and stars Jeremy Elliott ("Testaments") and Michael Buster ("Elder Kinegar" from "God's Army"). Buster also co-wrote the screenplay.

YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST: Latter-day Saint filmmaker McKay Daines is currently filming "Dream Catcher," a major feature film written, produced and directed by him. The executive producer (and one of the stars) of this Native American romantic comedy is Ray Tracey, the Navajo Latter-day Saint actor who, as a BYU student, was discovered by Kieth Merrill and later starred in "Joe Panther" and the documentary "Indian." The film features an all Native American cast and is being filmed on reservations near Phoenix, Arizona.