Natl Film Title Weekend Gross Rank LDS/Mormon Filmmaker/Star Total Gross Theaters Days --- ----------------------------- ----------- ----- ---- 2 The Divine Secrets of the 16,167,412 2,507 3 Ya-Ya Sisterhood (NEW) 16,167,412 14 The New Guy 606,077 684 31 Eliza Dushku (lead actress) 28,150,227 25 ESPN's Ultimate X 163,130 47 31 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 2,145,985 26 Murder by Numbers 157,259 251 52 Ryan Gosling (lead male actor) 31,527,119 R.D. Call (6th billed star) 32 Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure 71,422 21 486 Scott Swofford (producer) 12,226,312 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) Sam Cardon (composer) Stephen L. Johnson (film editor) 38 We Were Soldiers 42,393 105 101 Keri Russell (actress) 78,064,284 55 Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man 12,778 5 766 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 13,357,443 58 The Other Side of Heaven 12,194 14 178 Mitch Davis (writer/director) 4,547,227 John H. Groberg (author/character) Gerald Molen, John Garbett (producers) Steven Ramirez (film editor) 70 The Singles Ward 9,559 7 129 Kurt Hale (writer/director) 769,083 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. 74 China: The Panda Adventure 8,478 5 318 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 2,421,357 76 Galapagos 7,569 5 955 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 13,383,880 77 The Believer 7,517 6 24 Ryan Gosling (lead actor) 129,101 121 Mark Twain's America 3D 766 1 1438 Alan Williams (composer) 2,227,944
Welcome to summer. A bevy of new films will be released this month. The next film to be released of interest to us is "Minority Report" (Producer: Gerald Molen), which - considering all of the Hollywood heavyweights involved and huge advertising budget - should hit the top spot its first weekend.
Of course, the next major LDS-themed film to be released is Kels Goodman's "Handcart", which very appropriately is scheduled to arrive at theaters on July 24th. To follow this fall are the screen adaptation of Jack Weyland's "Charly" and a very welcome theatrical re-release of "Out of Step" - as lots of people who wanted to didn't get to see it on its very abbreviated first go-around.
ANOTHER ANDRUS HIT: The new feature film "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," with a screenplay written by Mark Andrus and the film's director (based on the novel by Rebecca Wells), opened in the #2 spot in the nationwide box office rankings, behind only "The Sum of All Fears". "Ya-Ya" took in over $16 million in its opening weekend, which means it has already surpassed the total U.S. box office performance of Andrus' debut feature film "Late for Dinner" and last year's "Life As A House" ($15.5 million). But it seems unlikely that "Ya-Ya" will surpass the amazing performance of Andrus' other feature film, "As Good As It Gets," which grossed $148.5 million domestically. (Andrus was nominated for an Acaemy Award for his script.)
The critical response to "Ya-Ya" has been sharply divided, with some critics praising it and others left rather luke warm. RottenTomatoes.com lists a 44% rating for the movie, with 39 positive and less enthusiastic 50 reviews, yet the rating is 56% when only the top critics are tallied. ("As Good As It Gets" has an 89% rating and "Life As A House" has a 48% rating on RottenTomatoes.com.)
MTV MOVIE AWARDS: The MTV Awards were held last week, and will now be shown almost daily on MTV for a few weeks. Latter-day Saint actor Paul Walker was nominated for Breakthrough Male Performance for his lead role in "The Fast and the Furious", but he lost to some elf dude (Orlando Bloom) from "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring." Happily, Walker DID win for "Best On-Screen Team", along with co-star Vin Diesel. If you haven't seen his acceptance speech, you've really missed a wonderful television moment. Walker was gracious and sweet and appropriately dressed and incredibly handsome. He thanked his family and friends for keeping him in line.
Interestingly enough, Walker's win for "Best On-Screen Team" meant that he and his co-star beat out the "Ocean's Eleven" team, which was also nominated in the "Best On-Screen Team" category. Two of the "Ocean's Eleven" team are the "Mormon twins" from Provo, Utah (the characters are Mormon, that is -- not the actors Casey Affleck and Scott Caan). The other nominees for "Best On-Screen Team" were: Rush Hour 2 (Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker), Shrek (Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz), Zoolander (Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson).
"The Fast and the Furious" was also nominated for Best Movie, but lost out to Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings." Also nominated were "Legally Blonde" (starring Utah native Matthew Davis), "Shrek" (whose original producer was Latter-day Saint producer John Garbett) and "Blackhawk Down." Also worth noting: Denzel Washington won the "Best Villain" award for "Training Day," Mandy Moore won the award for Breakthrough Performance (Female) for "A Walk to Remember."
NEW CHARLY WEBSITE IS NOW ONLINE: The long awaited new official website for the "Charly" movie is online, in the form of a brief Flash intro and a Flash-based information hub. There are detailed biographies of the lead actors Heather Beers and Jeremy Elliott, the director Adam Anderegg, the book author Jack Weyland, and the three main producers Lance Williams, Micah Merrill and Tip Boxell. There is also a good description of differences between the movie and book, comments by Jack Weyland about the film adaptation, and a plot synopsis. The website is at http://www.jackweylandscharly.com. Commentary about the site can be found at http://www.ldsfilm.com/Charly2.html
Fun fact: Jeremy Elliott is the lead actor in both "Charly" and "Out of Step." In "Out of Step" he plays a New Yorker dating a girl from Salt Lake City. In "Charly" he plays a Salt Laker dating a girl from New York City. Fortunately, neither role is likely to be confused with his lead role in "Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd," in which he plays a Mesoamerican sculptor who is dating a Nephite from his own city.
Other fun fact: Jeremy Elliott is married to professional actress Wendy Gardiner, one of the stars of "Brigham City" (2001). Wendy played "April" (the wife of Matthew Brown's deputy character). Jeremy has a small part in "Brigham City" as well.
TALENTED 10-YEAR-OLD ACTRESS Caitlin E.J. Meyer has a newly updated website online at: http://geocities.com/caitlinej/ . Meyer was an extra in Kels Goodman's upcoming pioneer epic "Handcart" (opening July 24th, 2002), and some photos of the production are on the site. Caitlin had a featured role in the movie "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" (2001) and has a featured role in "Little Secrets," the feature film directed by BYU graduate Blair Treu, in theaters August 2002. Caitlin has also acted in LDS videos and filmed a Homefront commercial on June 6th.
MEET ONE OF THE MOST ORIGINAL UTAH FILMMAKERS OF THE 21st CENTURY: Tucker Dansie's "Unwound 2002" short film exhibition is just days 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. All of the finished films are comedies, except "The Lesson," which is a drama about an unusual piano student. 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: http://www.tuckertdansie.com/unwound.htm
LATTER-DAY SAINT AND/OR UTAH FILMMAKER/ACTOR BIOGRAPHIES ONLINE: The new capsule biography section on LDSFilm.com is online, at: http://www.ldsfilm.com/bio/ There is a separate page for each letter of the alphabet. We've started with IMDb-listed Utah film personalities who were NOT already listed on the LDSFilm.com filmography pages. These are all complete. But as most IMDb-listed Utah film personalities ALREADY had filmographies listed on LDSFilm.com, this means that there is not yet a capsule biography for most Latter-day Saint actors and filmmakers -- just filmographies. Or, in other words, for most people there is one or the other: a filmography or a capsule biography. Well add other capsule biographies eventually. For example, we've finished the major "G"-named filmmakers: John Garbett (The Other Side of Heaven); Ken Garff; Ted Gibbons (I Witnessed the Carthage Massacre) Janine Whetten Gilbert (Jack Weyland's Charly); John Gilbert (The Big Parade); Mikal Gilmore (Shot in the Heart) Ron Goetz (13 Seconds: The Kent State Shootings); Ray Goldrup (Windwalker); Kels Goodman (Handcart); Sona Partayan Gourgouris (Galaxy Quest); Paul Green (Handcart); Lee B. Groberg (American Prophet: The Story of Joseph Smith); Michael M. Grilikhes (Duel at Diablo); Carl Gundestrup; Mike Gwilliam.
If you have a favorite Utah and/or Latter-day Saint filmmaker or actor, feel free to send us a capsule biography!
A GLIMPSE AT LATTER-DAY SAINT FILM HISTORY: Okay, I usually don't interrupt you with all the little historical research we do, preferring to update the list with current stuff. But this one was so interesting I thought I'd pass it along.
When screenwriter Elliott J. Clawson's father died, George Albert Smith, then member of the Council of Twelve Apostles was one of the speakers at the funeral. Another speaker was President Rudger Clawson of the Council of the Twelve, Elliot's uncle.
Not familiar with Elliot J. Clawson? He wrote "The Phantom of the Opera", which starred Lon Chaney, in the 1925. IMDb lists four Academy Award nominations for him, for "The Leatherneck", "Sal of Singapore", "The Cop" and "Skyscraper". Over 70 of his stories or screenplays were produced by Hollywood, including important films like "The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin" (1918).
Elliot's brother was cinematographer Dal Clawson, who photographed over 50 Hollywood films -- about twice as many as Frank Young (Brigham Young's grandson). This makes Dal Clawson one of the most prolific Latter-day Saint cinematographers in history. Reed Smoot (still very much alive) could catch up to him with just a few films.