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

Weekend of March 22, 2002

[If table lines up improperly, use mono-spaced font, i.e. Courier]

Natl  Film Title                Weekend Gross
Rank  LDS/Mormon Filmmaker/Star   Total Gross Theaters Days
---  ----------------------------- -----------  -----  ----
 6   We Were Soldiers                5,728,150  2,859    24
     Keri Russell (actress)         61,638,534

34   Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure  203,416     23   409
     Scott Swofford (producer)       9,268,281
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)
     Sam Cardon (composer)
     Stephen L. Johnson (film editor)

35   Ocean's Eleven                   $196,358    260   108
     LDS characters: Malloy twins  182,663,940

50   The Other Side of Heaven           48,287     21   101
     Mitch Davis (writer/director)   1,873,829
     John H. Groberg (author/character)
     Gerald Molen, John Garbett (producers)
     Steven Ramirez (film editor)

56   Mulholland Drive                   31,855     32   168
     Joyce Eliason (producer/writer) 7,126,633

~60  The Singles Ward                  ~20,000+    12    52
     Kurt Hale (writer/director)      ~380,000
     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, Robert Swenson,
        Lincoln Hoppe, Gretchen Whalley,
        Sedra Santos, etc.
     ["Single Ward" data estimated for this week.]

65   Galapagos                          15,923      4   878
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   12,488,836

69   Behind Enemy Lines                 13,899     37   115
     David Veloz (screenwriter)     58,847,668

87   Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man    5,076      2   689
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   13,127,699

92   China: The Panda Adventure          4,490      4   241
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    2,017,267

100  Mark Twain's America 3D             2,700      1  1361
     Alan Williams (composer)        2,180,119

106  Island of the Sharks                1,519      3  1060
     Alan Williams (composer)       10,657,820

SINGLE IN HAWAII: The latest word on "The Singles Ward" is that it will be opening at BYU-Hawaii this coming Friday, March 29th, and in many theaters in Idaho on April 19th. Plans are also in the works for = release of the film in Arizona and California this summer.

HANSEN'S DIRECTORIAL DEBUT: Whatever you do, don't miss the long-awaited premiere of "The Sisters of Bethany." Elizabeth J. Hansen's short film will be appearing on television on KBYU on Saturday, March 30th at 7:00 PM and Sunday, March 31st at 7:00 PM. Hansen was the writer and star of the KBYU production "Eliza and I," which was directed by Richard Dutcher. Hansen also wrote the screenplay for Michael Mills' "He Took My Licking" (available now on video), as well as the never-released Shoshone-themed feature film "Wind River." In 1990 Hansen received an Emmy nomination for "American Eyes," a CBS Schoolbreak Special. In addition to film and television work, Hansen is one of today's most exciting Latter-day Saint playwrights. Her plays have been performed in New York City, New Jersey, California and Utah, and include "A String of Pearls", "A Pearl of Great Price" and "Tangents." Hansen also works as a professor in the Theater and Film department at Brigham Young University.

Although Latter-day Saints have been nominated for and won many Oscars in past years, there weren't any nominated for Academy Awards this year. But there were some notable Mormon moments at this year's BIG event (24 March 2002). For example, Denzel Washington took home the Best Actor Academy Award for his villianous turn in "Training Day." In this movie Denzel calls his rookie partner (Ethan Hawke) a "Mormon" for refusing to use illegal drugs.

During a tribute to documentary films, one of the clips shown was from the Academy Award-nominated film "Waco: Rules of Engagement" (1997). That film was written and produced by Michael McNulty, a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (I don't recall seeing any footage from Norval MacGregor's 1913 film "One Hundred Years of Mormonism", which was the first feature length documentary ever made in the United States.)

DreamWorks' CGI blockbuster "Shrek" took home the first-ever Academy Award given for Best Animated Feature. The film's first producer was John Garbett, the Latter-day Saint producer well known for making "The Other Side of Heaven." Garbett was producing the project when the late Chris Farley was still slated for Michael Myers' role, and there were major revisions after he left. So the final film is certainly not a "Garbett film" and he was not a recipient of the Academy Award. But it's interesting to mention and I'm sure Garbett is pleased with the film's success. (I'm sure that Bluth, Rich and Swan are glad to see feature length animated films finally receive their own category, although it would have been nice if it started fifteen years ago.)

Cirque du Soleil performed an incredible live acrobatic tribute to special effects artists. The performance triggered an enthusiastic standing ovation from the celebrity audience. Regular readers of this column are fimiliar with Cirque du Soleil because they are the focus of Latter-day Saint cinematographer Reed Smoot's very successful IMAX film, "Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man" (which has made over $13 million at the domestic box office).

Salt Lake City joined in the Oscar fun as the pre-Oscar coverage show featured a live feed from an Oscar party in Salt Lake City, where the significantly LDS crowd answered Nicole Kidman for "Moulin Rouge" when asked who they wanted to see win the Best Actress Academy Award.

Finally, there was a Lifetime Achievement Award given to the very deserving Robert Redford. Redford was never a member of the Church, but he is certainly a Utah resident, and he was married to a Latter-day Saint, Lola Van Wagenen, for 27 years. Redford and his in-law, Latter-day Saint filmmaker and film professor Sterling Van Wagenen, founded the Sundance Film Festival, which was mentioned during Barbra Streisand's introduction of Redford, during the short retrospective film shown about his career, and during Redford's speech.


SURVIVOR: NELEH: Well that was a bit of a surprise. Neleh's tribe (Rotu) had won all five challenges so far, and was getting along together almost unbelievably well. Maraamu was at each other's throats. Things were so lopsided that the show's hosts scrambled the teams. Every remaining competitor on the island was shuffled this week, with Neleh ending up in the Maraamu tribe -- the team with the biggest losing streak in Survivor history. At the end of the show Neleh went to her first Tribal Council. Sarah was unanimously voted off, but it left Rotu with 8 members, mostly men, and Neleh's (new) team with only 4 members: 3 women and the old guy. Will Neleh survive until the teams are merged?