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

Weekend of July 5, 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
---  ----------------------------- -----------  -----  ----
 4   Minority Report                12,556,624  2,729    17
     Gerald Molen (producer)        97,119,723

10   The Divine Secrets of the       2,814,943  1,792    31
     Ya-Ya Sisterhood               61,144,497

36   ESPN's Ultimate X                  91,455     37    59
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    2,962,403

54   Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man   20,712      6   794
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   13,481,305

55   China: The Panda Adventure         20,151      8   346
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    2,547,550

62   Galapagos                          11,331      4   983
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   13,487,145

72   The Other Side of Heaven            7,583     10   206
     Mitch Davis (writer/director)   4,620,546
     John H. Groberg (author/character)
     Gerald Molen, John Garbett (producers)
     Steven Ramirez (film editor)

73   The Believer                        7,137      4    52
     Ryan Gosling (lead male actor)    219,403

78   The Singles Ward                    4,901      4   157
     Kurt Hale (writer/director)       813,019
     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.

93   Mark Twain's America 3D             1,014      1  1466
     Alan Williams (composer)        2,237,093

SUDDENLY UNEXPECTED AUDITIONS: The official website for Mark Potter's upcoming Latter-day Saint-themed feature film "Suddenly Unexpected" is now online ( The site includes a brief plot synopsis, character list, and instructions about when and where the auditions will be held (Houston, Texas on August 3rd; Provo, Utah on August 5th). The comedy about missionaries will be shot entirely in Houston.

DANSIE AUDITIONS: Tucker T Dansie's "Quarters & Rocks": Auditions are Saturday, July 13th, 2002, 1:00-5:00 PM. Please call and schedule a time. Call Judy @ 262-0594 or e-mail Come prepared to read sides from the script, which can be obtained on Dansie's website (

Parts for:
1 woman 20-30 years old: The Cashier - young, bubbly personality, makes friends with the child.
1 woman 20-40 years old: The Mother (pregnant mothers welcome!) - a good mother, firm, but not mean.
1 child (boy or girl) 4-7 years old: The Child: Loves to play in the rocks! And have fun!

THE R.M. LEADS ANNOUNCED: HaleStorm Entertainment has released the names of the leads in their upcoming feature comedy "The R.M.", which began filming on July 8, is scheduled to finish filming August 3, and will be released early in 2003. It was previously announced that the lead actor in "The R.M." will be Kirby Heyborne, as "Jared" (the R.M., i.e., Returned Missionary). Kirby is best known for playing "Dalen" the Idaho-bound missionary in who was the lead character's friend in HaleStorm's first movie "The Singles Ward." Joining Kirby is Will Swenson, as "Kory", Kirby's best friend -- a suave young man who did NOT serve a mission, but seems to have everything in life that Jared the R.M. doesn't have. (Will Swenson played the lead role in "The Singles Ward," but neither he nor Kirby are reprising characters from that movie.)

Other cast members in "The R.M.": The part of "Kelly", the female lead role, will be played by newcomer Britani Bateman. Newcomer Merrill Dodge will play "Brigham", Jared's father. Newcomer Tracy Ann Evans has landed what many insiders consider the film's funniest supporting role: the part of Emma, Jared's uber-Relief Society mother. Michael Birkeland, who played "Hyrum" in "The Singles Ward" has a supporting role as "Duey." Finally, music fans will be excited to hear that none other than MAREN ORD, the Canadian pop sensation, has a supporting role in "The R.M." as "Sariah." Maren's songs can be heard on the soundtrack for the movies "crazy/beautiful" and "The Singles Ward," and on the TV shows "Alias" and "Felicity." Maren sings the title song in the movie "Thomas and the Magic Railroad" (starring Alec Baldwin). She also has a track on the "Welcome to Brigham" CD inspired by Richard Dutcher's "Brigham City." But this will be Maren's film debut as an actress.

ANXIOUSLY ENGAGED: Cary Derbidge has announced that the title of his upcoming feature film about a temple wedding is "Anxiously Engaged." (We think this is the best title of any Latter-day Saint-themed film announced yet!) Also, a second executive producer has been added to the project: Shane Kester, a graduate of the University of Utah film school.

ELDER ELIJAH WOOD: Non-Latter-day Saint actor Elijah Wood (the star of "The Lord of the Rings") is set to star as "Justin Cobb" in Mike Mills' feature film adaptation of Walter Kirn's novel THUMBSUCKER. Walter Kirn is a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but is no longer an active churchgoer. His novel is about a young man (to be played by Wood) with an oral fixation who overcomes thumbsucking but replaces the behavior with other habits. In the novel, "Justin" joins the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and serves a mission. "Thumbsucker," currently in development, will be Mike Mills feature film directorial debut. "Thumbsucker" will also star Scarlett Johansson (Eight Legged Freaks; Ghost World; The Man Who Wasn't There; The Horse Whisperer; Home Alone 3; North), as a girl that Justin has a crush on. Tilda Swinton (Vanilla Sky; Orlando) will play Justin's mother (the character is also a Latter-day Saint convert). Mike Mills, whose previous film credits include a Moby music video, should NOT be confused with Latter-day Saint filmmaker "Michael Mills", the producer/writer/director of the videos "He Took My Licking" (2001) and "Bear River Massacre", both sold in Latter-day Saint bookstores.

JACK WEYLAND ON CHARLY: Deseret Book's "Mormon Life" online forum has posted a new interview with author Jack Weyland about the upcoming movie adaptation of his novel CHARLY:

NEIBAUR'S BIG CATS: Latter-day Saint director Bruce Neibaur's latest IMAX film is now playing in 3 theaters. "India: Kingdom of the Tiger" can currently be seen at the Dr. Philips Cinedome at the Orlando Science Center in Florida, the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Quebec and the IMAX Discovery Theatre in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It is already scheduled to be shown at 17 other theaters in India, Kentucky, Virginia, Connecticut, Taiwan, Nebraska, British Columbia, Boston, Germany, Washington D.C., Austria, The Netherlands, London, Alberta, California, and Georgia.
Big Movie Zone interview with Neibaur:
More information about theater locations:

Bruce Neibaur is now working with astrophysicist Stephen Hawking on an IMAX documentary about Hawking's life and discoveries about the cosmos.

NEW SLOVER VIDEO? Actor Marvin Payne has announced on his website that BYU has asked him to do a multiple camera shoot of Tim Slover's critically acclaimed stage play "Hancock County", about the courtroom prosecution of the people who killed Joseph Smith. Hopefully this means there will be a video available of the play.

Latter-day Saint playwright Tim Slover wrote the documentaries "Minerva Teichert: A Mission in Paint" (PBS; 1988) and the Emmy-nominated "A More Perfect Union: American Becomes A Nation" (PBS; 1989). He is best known for his off-Broadway plays "A Joyful Noise" and "March Tale." Marvin Payne is best known for playing the "dad" in videos such as "Saturday's Warrior", "Man's Search for Happiness" and "Pure Race." Payne has never played the "mom."

GWYNETH AND AARON - TRUE LOVE WAITS: We're only reporting this because it's in the national news -- we have no desire to be a seedy (or non-seedy, in this case) gossip column. But here's the news report carried by IMDb and an increasing number of Hollywood news publications. I did some checking on the web. This story has been re-circulated by dozens of sites, and has been translated into at least half a dozen languages. (Source: Celebrity News, 31st May 2002,

PALTROW'S NEW LOVE BANS HER FROM SEX: Gwyneth Paltrow's new boyfriend Aaron Eckhart is refusing to sleep with the sexy star. The Hollywood babe, who met Aaron on the set of the upcoming movie "Possession", recently confessed she has difficulty keeping lovers because she wears them out in the bedroom. But she appears to have finally met her match in 34-year-old Eckhart--the hunk is very religious and doesn't believe in sex before marriage. A friend of Eckhart says, "Aaron has very strong convictions and doesn't give them up for anyone... He accepts the church's ruling that forbids pre-marital sex." But friends of Oscar-winner Gwyneth say the actress is so besotted with the Mormon actor, she's agreed to go without sex--and is even considering marrying him. Paltrow's pal says, "She's lost her heart to Aaron. We hear big things are planned for late this summer. People thought it was a joke when started dating, but now see the relationship is for real."

TRIFFO/GOETZ TV SERIES: The award-winning Canadian documentary film team of director Chris Triffo and producer Ron Goetz (both are Latter-day Saints), has several new projecs in the works or arriving on TV sets as we speak.

"ExtraOrdinary Lives" will premiere on the Life Network, on date July 12, 2002. Fridays at 10pm, 3:30am, Saturdays at 9:30pm, 2002 EST. More information, from the production company's website (

Emmy-award winning Regina-based film production company Partners In Motion is looking for unsung heroes, tales of strength, triumph and courage, and other extraordinary feats performed by ExtraOrdinary Lives. "ExtraOrdinary Lives" is a 13-part series that will run on the Life Network in Canada, featuring ordinary people who have experienced an extraordinary event during their lives. A documentary format will be used to tell their stories, capturing their emotions and their experiences in their own words. If you know someone who is a quiet hero, mentor, survivor or rescuer, we want to hear from you. We want to tell the stories of these "ExtraOrdinary Lives" who are your neighbours, friends, relatives and co-workers.

For example: Dave Rodney is the first person in Canada to climb to the summit of Mount Everest twice, despite losing a teammate on his first attempt. Krista Rempel is an Emergency Medical Technician who was first on the scene of two separate cases of babies who nearly froze to death, but survived with her help.

Partners in Motion Inc. produces documentary programs like Disasters of the Century and 13 Seconds: The Kent State Shootings, which won an Emmy in 2001. For more information or interviews on ExtraOrdinary Lives, contact Nova Herman at Partners in Motion. To nominate someone you know (even yourself!) contact Casey Markus at Partners in Motion.

The TV series "Disasters of the Century" is already airing: History Television, Mondays at 10pm, 1am, Sundays 7pm, 3am 2002 EST. Official website:

The Emmy-winning team of Triffo and Goetz are also working on a new feature-length documentary: "Ghosts of War: Canada and Vietnam."

NELEH TV: Neleh Dennis, the Latter-day Saint star of CBS' extremely popular "Survivor: Marquesas" TV series, is the new art and culture correspondent on KUTV's "2-News This Morning."

WINNIE THE POOH: BLUTH ON DVD; SANSOM IN THEATERS: The 25th Anniversary DVD of "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" features a trailer for "Piglet's Big Movie," a new Disney animated feature set for theatrical release on April 11th, 2003. Latter-day Saint actor Ken Sansom (the voice of "Rabbit") will reprise his frequent lagomorphic role, with the movie's 3rd or 4th billed role. (Sansom had the 3rd billed role in "The Tigger Movie") and provides the voice of "Rabbit" on the Disney Channel TV series "The Book of Pooh." Sansom did NOT voice "Rabbit" in the "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh", by the way -- he has only had the role since 1988. But legendary Latter-day Saint animator Don Bluth was one of the main animators on that 25-year-old Disney classic. Long-time Disney collaborator Eric Larson (of Cleveland, Utah) was another of the main animators. And Richard Rich (the Latter-day Saint animation director who directed the Living Scriptures animated videos) was one of 2 assistant directors on the movie. More information about the upcoming Piglet feature can be found at Greg's Movie Previews:

SINGLES WARD COMING TO OTHER THEATERS NEAR YOU: According to the movie's official website (, "The Singles Ward" is winding down its run in initial states: It is now playing in only 1 Arizona theater (Gilbert), 2 Idaho theaters (Boise, Idaho Falls), and 3 Utah theaters (Cedar City, Lewiston, Logan). On July 26th, the movie will be opening in at least 2 Nevada cities: Las Vegas and Henderson. Dates and locations will be announced soon for other Nevada locations, including Elko and Reno. Now, 5 months after its premier in Utah, the "Singles Ward" will be opening soon in New Mexico, Colorado, Montana and California. To date the world's first Latter-day Saint genre feature comedy has earned over $813,000 at the box office. Check for more information.

DAY OF DEFENSE: A ton of new behind-the-scenes information about the upcoming Latter-day Saint-themed courtroom drama "Day of Defense" has been posted on the official website at: New revelations include the names of the lead actors, producers, screenwriters, and composer. As far as we know, "Day of Defense" will NOT have a commercial theatrical run, but will be released directly to video.

DRAGON'S LAIR, the animated feature to be produced and directed by Latter-day Saint animation legend Don Bluth is being screenwritten by comic book legend Rob McFarlane, of "Spawn" fame. Although his comic books have been adapted to the screen, this will be McFarlane's debut as a screenwriter.

LABUTE TO ADAPT VAPOR: It has been reported that Neil LaBute is writing a screenplay adaptation of Amanda Filipacchi's novel VAPOR, which he will direct. The feature film is being produced by Catch 23 Entertainment and Renaissance Films. The story is described as "a love story with a Pygmalion twist... a romance about an artist who helps an aspiring actress find success." LaBute's "Possession" has yet to appear on screens (although we know it is finished, and scheduled to premier in six weeks), and he's probably still working on "The Shape of Things" (which should debut late this year). Other films LaBute has in various places been reported to be working on or intending to work on include: The Wicker Man (starring Nicholas Cage), The Danish Girl, The Burnt Orange Heresy, Blue Angel, Leave Her to Heaven, and Bleeder.

KELS GOODMAN, DIRECTOR OF "HANDCART" HAS AN OFFICE NEXT DOOR TO RICHARD DUTCHER: Center Street, Provo is now the new office home for Kels. "Zion Films" (Richard Dutcher) is also sharing the center street location.

KEVIN SHARP ON CNN WITH CHUNG: During the first week of July the new primetime Connie Chung show on CNN featured a great segment about Latter-day Saint counry singer Kevin Sharp. The popular singer discussed how as a teenager his bout with cancer led to the Make-A-Wish Foundation granting his request to meet top music producer David Foster. Afterwards Sharp sent the producer a demo of his music. The producer had planned to break the news to Sharp that he didn't have what it takes to break into music -- until he actually heard the music. He was immensely impressed. Quite a heartwarming story. Sharp sings on the video animated "Annabelle's Wish," but othewise he has not done any film work. Sharp has won numerous country music awards and spots on Billboard's Top 10 lists. He has sung and been interviewed on several national television shows, including "Live with Regis & Kathie Lee," "Entertainment Tonight," CNN, ESPN, "Good Morning America Inside Edition," and the CBS newsmagazine "Coast To Coast." Sharp is now the national spokesman for Make-A-Wish Foundation. And his cancer - which was supposed to be fatal -- is completely in remission.

ENDERCON: The "EnderCon" was held in Utah County at Utah Valley Community College, on July 5th and 6th. The convention, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Orson Scott Card's short story "Ender's Game," was unusual in that it was a science fiction built around a purely literary series, and not a TV show or movie franchise. The status of "Ender's Game" as prose-only will change, of course, now that Warner Brothers is developing the "Ender's Game" feature film.

WILL ORSON SCOTT CARD MAKE YOUR STORY INTO A MOVIE? Probably not. But it's a possibility. Card's first "Phobos" anthology is going to be published in September 2002: EMPIRE OF DREAMS AND MIRACLES: THE PHOBOS SCIENCE FICTION ANTHOLOGY. This book is the result of an annual contest in which writers could submit science fiction stories. There is no cost or fee. Every eligible story is evaluated. The twelve best stories are chosen by a panel of 12 judges and each writers receives $500. The top 3 stories receive an additional $500. These top stories are then considered for publication in the PHOBOS anthology. More information on Card's official website ( and on the Phobos website ( The contest seems remarkably familiar to the renowned Writers of the Future Contest, founded by the late L. Ron Hubbard. Card has written for and judged for WoTF in the past, and Card's friend, fellow writer Dave Wolverton has been a frequent editor of the annual WoTF anthologies. Actually, the PHOBOS constest and anthology doesn't have anything to do with movies, except I thought I read somewhere that Card plans to consider Phobos contest winners for possible projects for his erstwhile film production company.