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

Weekend of May 31, 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
---  ----------------------------- -----------  -----  ----
10   The New Guy                     1,415,261  1,676    24
     Eliza Dushku (lead actress)    26,818,276

23   ESPN's Ultimate X                 186,677     48    24
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    1,869,860

26   Murder by Numbers                 121,658    217    45
     Ryan Gosling (lead male actor) 31,309,821
     R.D. Call (6th billed star)

27   Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure  100,015     23   479
     Scott Swofford (producer)      12,066,784
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)
     Sam Cardon (composer)
     Stephen L. Johnson (film editor)

30   We Were Soldiers                   77,522    234    94
     Keri Russell (actress)         77,977,745

51   The Believer                       16,380      9    17
     Ryan Gosling (lead actor)         110,113

63   Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man   13,087      5   759
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   13,333,699

69   The Other Side of Heaven            9,585     15   171
     Mitch Davis (writer/director)   4,523,292
     John H. Groberg (author/character)
     Gerald Molen, John Garbett (producers)
     Steven Ramirez (film editor)

74   China: The Panda Adventure          7,493      6   311
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    2,395,910

65   The Singles Ward                    7,248      6   122
     Kurt Hale (writer/director)       752,069
     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,
        Wally Joyner, Lincoln Hoppe,
        Sedra Santos, etc.

77   Galapagos                           6,444      5   948
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   13,353,501

116  Mark Twain's America 3D               680      1  1431
     Alan Williams (composer)        2,226,352

HOT FILMMAKER FROM MEXICO CITY: Newly listed at is Jorge Ramirez, a Latter-day Saint and BYU graduate who wrote to let us know about the projects he is currently working on. While he was in Utah, Ramirez directed The Fiancee trilogy, which won at the Utah Student Film Collective film festival and the Valle Verde film festival in Mexico City. (He is currently writing a feature length screenplay based on the Fiancee characters.) Ramirez is currently the executive producer on "Hermanos", a feature length film written and directed by non-LDS director Juan Pablo Villaseor. (Villaseor's previous films include "Por si no te vuelvo a ver", 1997, and "Y yo que la quiero tanto", 1987. The director has won Mexico's Silver Ariel Award for Best Director, the DICINE Award and FIPRESCI Award at the Guadalajara Mexican Film Festival, the Patron's Award at the San Diego International Film Festival, and other awards.) The project is in pre-production, with principal photography to begin in October. Ramirez is also also in the development stage for "Blue Demon", an action adventure film to be shot in mid-January, also in Mexico City.

BRIGHAM CITY FINAL NUMBERS: Excel Entertainment reports that after collecting all figures from the last few remote theaters to report... The final U.S. (or perhaps North American) box office total for Richard Dutcher's critically acclaimed "Brigham City" is: $905,073. The reported budget for the movie was $900,000. This return puts "Brigham City" 3rd among "LDS Cinema" films in terms of box office gross, coming behind Mitch Davis' "The Other Side of Heaven" ($7 million budget) and Dutcher's "God's Army." HaleStorm's "The Singles Ward" (Hale/Moyer/Hunter; approx. $325,000 budget) which is still playing in theaters, with plans to slowly role out a few states at a time, has earned $752,069, and may at some point surpass "Brigham City"'s box office performance. "Brigham City" is currently one of the top-selling video/DVDs in LDS bookstores.

MORE FROM EXCEL: Excel also reports that according to AC Nielsen EDI, Excel Entertainment "ranks eighth on the list of top niche distributors, just behind Sony Classics and ahead of Fine Line. Miramax tops the list of niche film distributors with a 33.6% market share. Niche or limited-release distributors are those with films playing in less than 600 markets... The numbers are especially significant in light of the fact that Excel is a relative newcomer to the film distribution business. The company dove into film distribution in 2000 with the independent hit 'God's Army' and went on to distribute 'Brigham City.' Most recently, Excel was responsible for the national release of the film 'The Other Side of Heaven,' which has grossed over $4.4 million and is still playing in theaters around the country.

"[Excel president Jeff] Simpson adds, 'What we are trying to do at Excel is show that there is a significant and under-serviced market for entertainment, especially film, that addresses real life stories and issues from a faithful perspective. We are unique among film distributors in that we've proven that we can reach audiences looking for that kind of quality entertainment.' "

AC Nielsen EDI data shows Excel Entertainment with 3.3% market share, behind Miramax, U Focus, IFC, USA, Lions Gate, Fox SearchLight and Sony Classics. Since forming in 2000, Excel Entertainment has distributed three films, which have grossed more than $8 million at the U.S. box office.

BATTER UP: The ball is now in Kels Goodman's court. The next feature film made by and about Latter-day Saints is "Handcart", Kels Goodman's fictional epic set against the backdrop fo the Martin Handcart Company's trek to Utah. The trailers have played online and in theaters, posters are up. Like Dutcher, Goodman has previously produced and directed a feature film prior to his theatrical feature debut. "Handcart" premiers July 24th. reports that "during the past week rough copies of the film have been shipped every day to Germany to Eric Hanson for the final written score. Then early June, Kels Goodman himself and Eric Hanson will fly to Pheonix. Arizona to record the film score with a full piece orchestra."

CHARLY POSTERS ("one-sheets") are now in movie theaters throughout the Wasatch Front, according to the producers of "Jack Weyland's Charly."

DAY OF DEFENSE PREMIER: "Day of Defense" will premier September 21st at Kingsbury Hall in SLC. "Shades of Gray", which performs sounds on the soundtrack, will perform live at the premier. No word yet on whether or not the movie will have a limited theatrical release beyond that, or go straight to video.

KIETH MERRILL ON CLEAN VIDEOS: Meridian Magazine has posted a new article by Kieth Merrill which features a detailed discussion of and look at the clean video-editing industry. The article is at (If you're not familiar with the clean video movement, think of it like this: You know how in many video stores you can buy or rent Hollywood videos in Spanish -- they're basically the same, except modified for Spanish-language speakers, with a dubbed sound track or subtitles... The clean video movement is basically like that, except for the Latter-day Saint/family market. Well, read the article. Merrill explains it better than I do.

POLL POSITION: The exciting polling at continues. In answer to the question "Which upcoming film are you most looking forward to seeing?", "Handcart" is currently ahead of "Charly", but only by a few votes. In answer to the question "Which is your favorite 'LDS Cinema' movie?", the current tally is: "The Singles Ward" - 28%; "The Other Side of Heaven" - 26%; "Brigham City" - 23%; "God's Army" - 17%. If you haven't voted yet, what are you waiting for?

GALACTICA DVD POSTPONED: reports that Universal Pictures Video Australia announced that it is postponing the planned June release of a Battlestar Galactica DVD box set until mid-2003.

WINDING DOWN TO UNWOUND 2002: Tucker Dansie's "Unwound 2002" short film exhibition is just two weeks away. The short film exhibition, with free admission, will take place on June 15th at 7:00 p.m. at the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts at Westminster College below the corner of 1700 S. 1300 E. in Salt Lake City. There will be a "meet and greet" after the films are shown so that all in attendance can meet the director and many of the actors. For more information, see the official website at:

MORE CARD: Orson Scott Card's novel "Lost Boys" has just been optioned by Universal for director Jonathan Mostow. Card is not writing the screenplay. In the novel, the main characters are Latter-day Saints, but per the author's request, their religion will be unspecified in the movie, so that non-LDS writers don't get the cultural details wrong. Card's novels "Treasure Box" and "Treason" are currently under producer (rather than studio) options.

CORRECTION: Orson Scott Card's grandfather Lester's last name is PARK, not CARD. (Lester Park produced the first-ever feature Mormon commericial feature film, "Corianton", way back in 1931. The full story is described in Card's article "Towards a Mormon Aesthetic," his keynote address at the Mormon Arts Festival in 1995 (