Natl Film Title Weekend Gross Rank LDS/Mormon Filmmaker/Star Total Gross Theaters Days --- ----------------------------- ----------- ----- ---- 4 Murder by Numbers 3,624,487 2,565 17 Ryan Gosling (2nd billed star) 23,893,720 R.D. Call (6th billed star) 25 We Were Soldiers 365,879 448 66 Keri Russell (actress) 76,781,783 35 Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure 132,959 25 451 Scott Swofford (producer) 11,180,438 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) Sam Cardon (composer) Stephen L. Johnson (film editor) 37 The Other Side of Heaven 107,245 103 143 Mitch Davis (writer/director) 4,251,868 John H. Groberg (author/character) Gerald Molen, John Garbett (producers) Steven Ramirez (film editor) 78 Galapagos 10,196 7 920 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 12,664,692 80 Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man 9,507 4 731 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 13,248,048 90 China: The Panda Adventure 5,515 4 283 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 2,266,198 108 Mark Twain's America 3D 2,997 1 1403 Alan Williams (composer) 2,208,017 121 Mulholland Drive 1,520 4 210 Joyce Eliason (producer/writer) 7,219,578
Box office for "The Singles Ward" were coming in late for the second week in a row, but the movie is still in theaters -- and doing well. LAST weekend the movie was in 67th place nationwide, earning $30,448, bringing its total gross to $584,607. By the time you read this, the gross will have topped $600,000 for the $425,000-budget comedy. NEXT week "The Singles Ward" is opening in about 10 theaters all over Arizona.
TURK AND VIRGIL COME HOME: The box office hit "Ocean's Eleven" ($183 million in U.S. ticket sales) drops off from the box office report this week because it is no longer in theaters. The DVD/video is in stores on 7 May 2002. "Ocean's Eleven" set the record for the top-earning film ever to feature Mormon main characters (the Malloy twins, played by Scott Caan and Casey Affleck). George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and a bunch of other folks are also in it -- but who cares? The REAL stars are those safe-cracking boys from Provo.
REED'S ULTIMATE X: Ads have already begun appearing on network television for "Ultimate X," the ultra-hip extreme sports IMAX documentary shot by Latter-day Saint cinematographer Reed Smoot. It opens this coming weekend (May 10). Also opening this coming weekend: "The New Guy", starring Mormon actress Eliza Dushku (a.k.a. "Faith" from TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer").
MORMON NOMINEES AT MTV MOVIE AWARDS: The nominees for the 2002 MTV Movie Awards have been announced. The annual award ceremony is scheduled to take place June 1st. "The Fast and the Furious," starring Latter-day Saint actor Paul Walker, received 5 nominations: Best Action Sequence, Breakthrough Male Performance (Paul Walker), Best Male Performance (for Vin Diesel), Best On-Screen Team (Paul Walker and Vin Diesel) and Best Movie. The other nominees for Best Movie were "Black Hawk Down", "Legally Blonde", "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" and "Shrek." Shrek (which received a total of 4 nominations) was originally produced by John Garbett, a Latter-day Saint and the co-producer of "The Other Side of Heaven." Anne Hathaway was nominated for Breakthrough Female Performance for her starring role in "The Princess Diaries." Hathaway is not a Latter-day Saint, but she played one in "The Other Side of Heaven." Hathaway received the "Princess Diaries" role when she went to an audition during a layover en route to New Zealand, where she filmed "The Other Side of Heaven" -- her first feature film. "Ocean's Eleven" also was nominated for Best On-Screen Team, a nomination going to Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Elliott Gould, Edward Jemison, Bernie Mac, Brad Pitt, Shaobo Qin and Carl Reiner. Two of the eleven characters played by these actors (Casey Affleck and Scott Caan) are Mormons. In the past, actors have won Academy Awards for playing Mormon characters, but this marks the first time an actor has been nominated for an MTV Movie Award for playing an openly Mormon character.
BIG WINS AT INT'L FAMILY FILM FESTIVAL: Latter-day Saint filmmakers won major awards at the prestigious International Family Film Festival held this year in Valencia, California April 19-21 (formerly the Santa Clarita International Film Festival). The winner for Best Feature Comedy was "The Penny Promise." All of the principal filmmakers of "The Penny Promise" are Utahns and/or Latter-day Saints. The movie was co-directed by T.C. Christensen (cinematographer of numerous films such as "The Testaments" and "American Prophet: The Story of Joseph Smith", and director of "Bug Off!", "The Touch of the Master's Hand", etc.). The other director was Timothy J. Nelson ("Jumping for Joy", "Who Gets the House?", "No More Baths"). The producers were Jeff Miller ("Testaments", "Return to the Secret Garden", "Same River Twice", "Lewis and Clark: Great Journey West", etc.) and Don A. Judd ("The Princess and the Pea", "Rigoletto", "Seasons of the Heart", etc.). The screenwriters were Dave Trottier ("Hercules Recycled"), Tim Nelson and T.C. Christensen.
The winner of the Best Feature Drama award at the Festival was "The Climb", which was helmed largely by Protestant fimmakers, but which was filmed in Utah County, and many of the crewmembers were Latter-day Saints. "The Climb" was directed by John Schmidt, produced by John Shepard, and written by Robert Pierce and Patrick Egan. The cast includes Ned Vaughn, Jason George, Dabney Coleman, Kyle Santiago, Clifton Davis, and Todd Bridges. Why did Schmidt et al make "The Climb" (budget: $2.5 million) in Utah County? Could be that the mountains were just right and the local crews are highly professional yet affordable. Or maybe they think that there's something in the water that results in successful movies like "Brigham City."
BYU MAGAZINE COVERS LDS CINEMA: In the Spring 2002 BYU Magazine publishes an article about LDS Cinema: "Taking It to the Big Screen" (http://magazine.byu.edu/article.tpl?num=34-spr02), written by Charlene R. Winters, focuses on Mitch Davis and his film "The Other Side of Heaven", Richard Dutcher ("God's Army" and "Brigham City") and Academy Award-winner Kieth Merrill. There are quotes from these three filmmakers, as well brief references to their backgrounds and how they came to focus their filmmaking efforts on movies with Latter-day Saint themes and characters. An accompanying page "BYU Alumni Create LDS Films" (http://magazine.byu.edu/article.tpl?num=01-spr02) lists a number of recent or upcoming films made by BYU alumni which feature Latter-day Saint themes and characters: Scott D. Tiffany's documentary "Forgotten Voyage," Kels Goodman's upcoming epic feature film "Handcart", "Jack Weyland's Charly" directed by Adam T. Anderegg, "Out of Step" directed by Ryan Little, Rob Sibley's "The Shadow of Light", and "The Singles Ward" (Kurt C. Hales, Dave W. Hunter, John E. Moyer). This page also links directly to LDSFilm.com as a source for more information.
NELEH WATCH: Wow. No two ways about it. The latest episode of "Survivor: Marquesas" was simply Neleh-rific. Neleh was really the star of this one, and her "character" experienced quite a few twists. Paschal won the reward challenge -- an incredible display of raw physicality considering he is the oldest contestant. The challenge involved racing the other competitors in diving for shells in deep water, followed by running along the bottom of the ocean carrying 40 pound stones. Paschal, the old guy, won. Neleh didn't quite come in last place -- she bet Vecepia and Sean. Paschal's reward was an opportunity to spend an evening on a cruise ship -- with showers, new clothes, and a fine meal. In a surprise twist, the host told Paschal to pick somebody to accompany him, and he unhesitantly chose Neleh, who has been inseparable from him throughout their stay on the island.
On the cruise ship, Paschal and Neleh cleaned themselves up after weeks without a shower. They enjoyed a fine meal, which included escargot. Of course they both declined alcoholic beverages, something that their non-cruising fellow tribe members commented on ruefully about back on the beach: "Those are the wrong people to go do some drinking!" Paschal left the waiter a $200 tip for the $300 meal. (The show was picking up the tab, so why not?)
Neleh may be the greatest survivor ever to play the game, but after she returned to the island she made a few apparent blunders. Neleh and Paschal were not able to smuggle food back to their compatriots, but Neleh offered the five who were left behind a mint -- a single mint that she had in her mouth when she returned from the ship. The others were polite, but were NOT impressed, something they made known during later interviews with the camera. The editing showed Neleh looking generally lazy and princess-like the whole next day. Her wonderfully clean hair and gazing at her clean nails did not endear her to the others. The episode's editors made some effort to make it look like Neleh would be voted off the island. They even showed Sean and Vecepia making plans to go to Robert ("the General") and Tammy to make a new alliance that would vote Neleh off. But when the actual voting came, nobody voted for Neleh. Robert won the immunity challenge, and, predictably, Tammy got voted out. (Tammy and Robert were the only two left from the evil Power Four of John, General, Tammy and Zoe, whose eventual downfall was subtly orchestrated by Neleh.)
Nobody, in fact, voted for Neleh. Robert and Tammy voted for Vecepia, which shocked pretty much everybody, and made no real sense. The next day, Tammy explained to Jane Clayson on "The Early Show" that she had voted for Vecepia because Vecepia had not pulled her weight around camp with regards to chores. And she apparently had not been aware of the extent to which Sean and Vecepia had been ready to make an alliance. Apparently Sean and Vecepia only talked about making an alliance with Tammy and Robert -- but never actually approached them about it. Will Neleh make it to the Final Four, and beyond? Stay tuned.