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

Weekend of May 10, 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
---  ----------------------------- -----------  -----  ----
 3   The New Guy (NEW)               9,007,833  2,687     3
     Eliza Dushku (lead actress)     9,007,833

 7   Murder by Numbers               2,427,318  2,116    24
     Ryan Gosling (male lead actor) 27,462,731
     R.D. Call (6th billed star)

17   ESPN's Ultimate X (NEW)           613,670     47     3
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)      613,670

27   We Were Soldiers                  278,989    352    73
     Keri Russell (actress)         77,199,533

33   Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure   130,500    23   458
     Scott Swofford (producer)       11,417,702
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)
     Sam Cardon (composer)
     Stephen L. Johnson (film editor)

43   The Other Side of Heaven           66,503     84   150
     Mitch Davis (writer/director)   4,381,772
     John H. Groberg (author/character)
     Gerald Molen, John Garbett (producers)
     Steven Ramirez (film editor)

65   The Singles Ward                   25,408     18   101
     Kurt Hale (writer/director)       662,785
     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.

71   Galapagos                          13,463      6   927
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   13,260,096

74   Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man   10,263      4   738
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   13,264,505

102  China: The Panda Adventure          2,961      4   290
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    2,284,663

107  Mark Twain's America 3D             2,344      1  1410
     Alan Williams (composer)        2,212,042

This week, up-to-date numbers for "The Singles Ward" return. Kurt Hale's Saint-centric satire opened on May 10th in Arizona theaters, and continued playing in Utah, Idaho and at one theater in Hawaii. Interestingly, "The Singles Ward" outperformed "The Other Side of Heaven" on a per-screen basis this weekend. "Heaven" pulled in $792 per theater, while "The Singles Ward" grossed $1,412 per theater.

This coming weekend should feature another large drop in most films' numbers. It will be interesting to see which films can survive having both "Spiderman" and "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones" in theaters. Obviously, venues for independent films to play will be increasingly scarce. "Murder by Numbers", featuring LDS actor, Ryan Gosling, dropped to the #7 spot this week. Much like David Howard's "Galaxy Quest", "Murder" is truly proving to have legs. You may remember that "Galaxy Quest" never hit the #1 spot, but it seemed to hang around in the top 10 forever. Disney's G-rated "The Rookie" is also doing the same thing, an achievement significant to box office watchers interested in the performance of quality family films.

CHARLY WORKS WITH DESERET BOOK: The producers of the upcoming feature film "Charly" announced a major deal with Deseret Book to re-print Jack Weyland's novel "Charly" with a new cover reflecting the movie. Details of the marketing agreement include television, radio and print advertising, as well as in-store and Web-based promotion. The new edition of the book will hit stores in August; the movie will be released in September. Read the full press release on the official "Charly" movie website:

NO LONGER A SECRET: Latter-day Saint film director Blair Treu's latest movie "Little Secrets" (aka "Secret Keeper") will receive a nationwide release on August 16 from Columbia Tri-Star Pictures. This family-friendly film has already garnered an armful of major festival awards and critical notices. Starring Tayva Patch ("Out of Step", "Brigham City", "Testaments"), Jan Gardner and Rick Macy ("Out of Step", "Brigham City", "Testaments"). Music is by Sam Cardon ("Brigham City", "Mysteries of Egypt"). Cinematography by long-time Treu collaborator Brian Sullivan. Jerry Stayner and Wynn Hougaard ("Out of Step", "The Singles Ward") are the editors. Christian Vuissa ("Roots and Wings") served as assistant director. We'll keep you posted as more information becomes available.

CHRIS HEIMERDINGER: THE MOVIE: You can get your first glimpse at Chris Heimerdinger's upcoming documentary "LEHI'S LAND OF FIRST INHERITANCE" at

There is a preliminary mock-up of the video cover, brief description, and a video clip viewable by users who register with the site. Heimerdinger has written that he hopes this project will be a major stepping stone toward eventual feature film versions of some of his very popular LDS young adult novels, including his "Tennis Shoes" series.

YET ANOTHER HIT IMAX FILM FROM REED SMOOT: Latter-day Saint cinematographer Reed Smoot's "ESPN's Ultimate X" opened very strongly this weekend. Despite only playing in 47 theaters - it is an IMAX film - the movie grossed $613,670 - that is $13,057 per screen and good enough for the weekend's #17 spot. That made it the third-highest per screen average of the weekend, topped only by "Spider-Man" at $19,756 per theater and "Space Station", which averaged $14,599 in its 33 theaters. It seems there are a few BMX fans out there.

Reviews are coming in for "Ultimate X." They are mostly positive reviews, although not ecstatic. so far tracks 13 positive reviews and 8 negative ones, a "freshness" rating of 62%. Smoot, one of the most successful Latter-day Saint cinematographers in the history of film, has photographed an astonishing range of films, including "Mysteries of Egypt", "Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure", "Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man", "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey", "Legacy", "Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets", "Harry's War", "Windwalker", "The Lost Manuscript", "Cipher in the Snow" and many others.

YET ANOTHER DISASTROUS MOVIE CHOICE BY A TALENTED ACTRESS WHO DESERVES BETTER: Reviews are coming in for "The New Guy", which features Eliza Dushku as the lead actress and the nerd-turned-hipster's love interest. Most of the reviews are really, really negative, including ratings of 1 star, zero stars, or "F." tallied 46 negative reviews and 4 positive ones: a "freshness" rating of 8%. Ouch. On the other hand, Roger Ebert gave it two stars -- exactly the same score that he gave to "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones" this week.

RICHARD DUTCHER STARRING AS NOT QUITE HIMSELF: There are finally images and text up on the official "The Work and the Story" movie website. Starring Richard Dutcher as a convenience store clerk who dreams of making movies, this mockumentary by Nathan Smith Jones is currently in the editing stages, targeting a September 2002 theatrical release. Check out the graphics and trailer:

CARD REVIEWS JOSHUA: This column previously mentioned the release of "Joshua", a feature film produced by a Presbyterian minister, based on a popular novel by a Catholic writer. The movie has been written about in the trades as another foray into Christian-themed feature films. But whereas recent entries into the genre have been either Evangelical-oriented (e.g., "Left Behind", "The Omega Code") or Latter-day Saint-oriented (e.g., "God's Army", "Brigham City", "The Other Side of Heaven", "The Singles Ward"), "Joshua" appears to be neither. Based on Card's comments and those of other reviewers, "Joshua" appears to reflect a Liberal Protestant position.

Latter-day Saint writer (and frequent movie reviewer) Orson Scott Card weighed in on "Joshua" in his weekly newspaper column "Uncle Orson Reviews Everything." Card calls the movie much better than he expected. He states that the acting is uniformly excellent, and notes some of favorite performances, particularly those by stars Tony Goldwyn and F. Murray Abraham. But Card goes on to say that "the script was not very good." His most pointed criticisms are of the movie's theology:

"This is the official nice-guy forgive-everybody feel-good Jesus that is only believable if you ignore half the New Testament... Where's the Jesus who said his law was even more rigorous than the law of Moses? No, they showed only a Jesus who doesn't actually expect you to obey commandments or, really, do much of anything except be helpful and say pious things about God. As if the gospels were just chapters in James Redfield's Celestine Prophecy. Most annoying, however, was the depiction of the priest who opposes him. Yes, I know the movie ends with Joshua visiting the Pope and calling him Peter, thus confirming his authority, but until that moment all the depictions of F. Murray Abraham's down-the-line priest showed him -- and the official church -- as dark, oppressive, and condemning. Am I the only one to whom this movie seemed deeply anti-Catholic?... In the effort to show us how Jesus doesn't want us to judge anybody, the film judges 'judgmental' people very harshly, cruelly, and unfairly. It's just like all politically correct puritanism: It becomes intolerant in the name of tolerance, unfair in the name of fairness."

The rest can be read on Orson Scott Card's official website at:

THE FIRST ANNUAL L.A. LDS FILMMAKER/ALUMNI GATHERING, hosted by the Theatre and Media Arts department at Brigham Young University, will be held June 8, 2002. Students interested in attending to showcase their films or talents should contact Nancy or Heidi in D-581 HFAC.

NELEH WATCH: This week's episode (9 May 2002) of "Survivor: Marquesas" (a.k.a. "Survivor 4") had an impressive amount of Neleh material to watch. This isn't surprising, considering the fact that she shared the screen with only 5 other remaining contestants. The big surprise of the episode was that each of the survivors had a loved one visit them: Kathy's son, Robert's sister, Sean's friend, Vecepia's husband, Paschal's wife, and Neleh's mom. The visits were short, but very emotional and watchable. The loved ones competed in the turtle shell-themed puzzle, and by winning this reward challenge Kathy's son earned the right to stay on the island for a day or a night. Vecepia had moments to shine when she won the sling shot immunity challenge, barely beating out Neleh, who was in great form. Neleh has rarely performed so well in a challenge.

This episode featured much talk against Neleh. Sean, Vecepia and Kathy all seemed to be plotting against her, all accusing her of not being as sweet as she seems. "You know, cute little Mormon girl, sweet little Mormon girl ain't got jack to do with this game," Vecepia said to Sean, letting her Baptist-based anti-Mormonism slip out. Interestingly enough, the competitor most widely identified as being a Baptist on the show is Paschal. Before this season got started, many writers and online "Survivor" fans predicted that Paschal, an active Baptist, would hate Neleh simply because she is a Latter-day Saint. It turned out that this Baptist from the deep South and the Mormon from Utah formed the tightest bond on the show.