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

Weekend of July 19, 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
---  ----------------------------- -----------  -----  ----
11   Minority Report                 4,457,544  1,672    31
     Gerald Molen (producer)       118,061,976

19   The Divine Secrets of the         768,452    572    45
     Ya-Ya Sisterhood               66,600,470

39   ESPN's Ultimate X                  85,285     40    73
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    3,292,207

51   Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure   48,780     19   528
     Scott Swofford (producer)      12,842,415
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)
     Sam Cardon (composer)
     Stephen L. Johnson (film editor)

58   Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man   23,204      8   808
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   13,567,501

61   China: The Panda Adventure         18,945      7   360
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    2,629,392

75   Galapagos                           9,529      4   997
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   13,533,471

78   The Singles Ward                    8,261      7   171
     Kurt Hale (writer/director)       833,552
     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.

81   The Believer                        7,610     10    66
     Ryan Gosling (lead actor)         243,634

84   The Other Side of Heaven            6,980      9   220
     Mitch Davis (writer/director)   4,649,631
     John H. Groberg (author/character)
     Gerald Molen, John Garbett (producers)
     Steven Ramirez (film editor)

91   Ziggy Stardust & Spiders from Mars  5,017      1    12
     Mick Ronson (2nd billed actor)     22,159

98   Mark Twain's America 3D             4,033      2  1480
     Alan Williams (composer)        2,252,399

DONNY'S NEW SHOW: The Deseret News ran an article about Donny Osmond's new gig as the host of Pyramid, a syndicated revival of the game show popular during the 1970s and '80s. The article is at:,1249,405019382,00.html?

ANXIOUSLY DELAYED: Movie producer Cary Derbidge ("Out of Step") has re-scheduled the release of his upcoming movie "Anxiously Engaged" from January to April 2003 -- not because of any production delays, but simply so that the release of Latter-day Saint-themed films will be better spaced out. Kurt Hale's "The R.M." is scheduled to open in January 2003, and Nathan Smith Jones' "The Work and the Story" should open in early 2003 as well. A few weeks ago Kels Goodman announced that the release of "Handcart" would be moved from July 24th to October 11th, 2002. (It's also highly possible that some of these delays facilitate the creation of larger numbers of prints and the arrangement of wider openings...)

TRIVIA ABOUT BRIGHAM CITY: None of the actors or crew knew whom the real murderer was prior to the last scene being filmed. The actors and crew filming the scene had to sign a contract saying they would not reveal which one of them played the murderer, until after the movie was officially released. (Source:

MORE MOVIE TUNES FROM SEN. HATCH: Utah's Senator Orrin Hatch simply ROCKS, doesn't he? This week saw the premiere of the hit family film "Stuart Little 2." The soundtrack album features a song by Sen. Hatch, a lullaby titled "Little Angel of Mine." Sadly, the song isn't in this movie. But Hatch has songs actually in two recent movies: "Joshua" and "Rat Race." And of course he was in Soderberg's "Traffic," and, even better, will be appearing in Kurt Hale's "The R.M." next year.

DANSIE: The production of Salt Lake City-based Latter-day Saint auteur filmaker Tucker T. Dansie's latest comedy short "The Dougs" has been postponed because 2 of the three female leads are pregnant. Their husbands are male leads in the prodution, but it was decided to wait until delivery rather than replace the expectant mothers with other actresses. However, work on Dansie's upcoming "Quarters & Rocks", the second in "The Lesson" series of films about little life lessons, continues.

EMMYS FOR SAINTS: A 20 July 2002 Deseret News editorial (,1249,405018921,00.html) noted with pride that the 2002 Winter Olympics ceremony received 8 Emmy nominations. The ceremony which was replete with references both overt and otherwise to Church history, Latter-day Saint culture and belief, and Mormon pioneers, and featured a predominantly Latter-day Saint cast. The editorial notes:
Winner: Kudos to the organizers of the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics for pulling in eight Emmy nominations this week. And what a tribute to the great talent that exists along the Wasatch Front. Thousands of volunteers, including performers, helped it all come about. Maybe President Bush should get some kind of award, as well, for his impromptu decision to accept a cell phone from skater Sasha Cohen and speak to her parents while he was mingling with the athletes in the stadium.
Hey, it was more entertaining that just about anything else that's been on television lately.

PRINCESS AND THE PEA FINALLY OPENING: The long-awaited animated feature film by Mark Swan and his Swan Animation studio is finally scheduled to premiere. Here's the press release, and there is more info about it below:

Princess and the Pea Newsletter, July 2002

Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002
From: Swan Animation [ ]

July 23, 2002

Swan Animation is proud to announce the premiere theatrical showing of it's first animated feature, Princess and the Pea.

Gateway Megaplex 12
165 South Rio Grande Street
Salt Lake City, Utah
(801) 304-4636

Friday, August 16th
Premiere Gala & Showing
7:00 P.M., Tickets $25.000

Saturday, August 17th
5:00 P.M., Tickets $5.00

Sunday, August 18th
7:00 P.M. Tickets $5.00

Monday, August 19th
5:00 P.M., Tickets $5.00

All proceeds from these showings will benefit the Children's Justice Center.

AUGUST MOVIES BY LATTER-DAY SAINTS: Mark your calendars. In August over a period of 11 days no fewer than 4 movies by Latter-day Saint directors and/or with Latter-day Stars will premiere.

August 12th is the premiere of University of Utah film grad Joseph Osborn's first feature film "No Dogs Allowed." The film, made in Utah, stars Latter-day Saint actor Dalin Christiansen in the top-billed role. Some people will remember Christiansen from his starring role as J. Golden Kimball in the video "J. Golden" (2000), available at LDS bookstores. LDS actor David Stevens has a major supporting role as well. Stevens will gain more exposure as one of four Latter-day Saint brothers who are Adam Sandler's nemesis in the upcoming feature film "Punch Drunk Love." A number of other Utah/LDS actors are in "No Dogs Allowed" in smaller roles, including Lincoln Hoppe, one of the supporting players in "The Singles Ward." K. Joseph Osborn, the director of "No Dogs Allowed", grew up in a small farming town north of Salt Lake City. His mother encouraged him, "So if things turn for the worse, remember this... never forget who you are, and what gifts you've been blessed with."

August 16th marks the world premiere of the long-awaited feature film "Possession," directed by Neil LaBute and starring Aaron Eckhart, both of whom are Latter-day Saints and graduates of Brigham Young University. Eckhart stars opposite Academy Award-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow. Neil LaBute's fourth feature film his adaptation of A.S. Byatt's popular novel about literary sleuths (Eckhart and Paltrow) discovering evidence of a love affair between the 19th Century English poets that they each study.

August 16th ALSO marks the world premiere of another Latter-day Saint director's feature film. Animator Mark Swan worked on a number of Disney and Don Bluth animated films before opening his own studio, Swan Animation, in St. George, Utah. "The Princess and the Pea" is his first feature film, and was a joint production with the folks at Feature Films For Families. The movie was produced by Forrest S. Baker III and Don Judd. Latter-day Saint composer Alan Williams provided the musical score. One of the voice actors in the film is Frank Gerrish, who has been in tons of movies, but may be best known for playing Ralph the construction foreman in Richard Dutcher's "Brigham City" (2001).

The following week, on August 23rd, is the nationwide premiere of the Columbia TriStar release "Little Secrets", a live action family film directed by Latter-day Saint (and BYU graduate) Blair Treu. This is Treu's first theatrical release, although he has directed 5 previous feature films that were TV movies or direct-to-video movies. Many of the key cast and crew on "Little Secrets" are Latter-day Saints, including composer Sam Cardon ("Brigham City"), director of photography Brian Sullivan, and supporting actors such as Tayva Patch, Jan Broberg, Rick Macy, and Caitlin E.J. Meyer.

ALSO on August 23rd is the world premiere of "Serving Sara", starring Matthew Perry and Elizabeth Hurley. Okay, this one wasn't directed by a Latter-day Saint and doesn't actually feature any members in lead roles, but Latter-day Saint actress Alaina Kalanj has a small role as a receptionist. So if you go see, watch for her!

Also in August, but not in theaters: Latter-day Saint novelist Chris Heimerdinger's first film, the documentary "Lehi's Land of First Inheritance" that he scripted and directed, will go on sale.

And if you can find it... Look for Christian Vuissa's absolutely stunning short film "Roots and Wings," which is supposed to go on sale in LDS bookstores in August. I haven't seen "No Dogs Allowed," "Possession", "The Princess and the Pea", "Little Secrets" or "Lehi's Land." Maybe they're all great. Maybe they all stink. I don't know. But I HAVE seen "Roots and Wings", and it is amazing. The extremely realistic and beautifully shot story of a Mexican Catholic immigrant who finds his wife and children becoming distant as they assimilate American ways and Latter-day Saint faith, "Roots and Wings" is the work of a filmmaker who is obviously destined for great things. Every shot is thoughtfully and meaningfully framed. The acting is so natural and the emotions so raw that the film often seems like a beautifully shot documentary. Vuissa serves up no easy answers or platitudes, he simply serves up a glimpse into a fascinating and though-provoking story. At only about 25 minutes long, "Roots and Wings" is more of a film than most anything you'll find in the multiplex this summer.

BRIGHAM YOUNG ON THE BIG SCREEN: A number of news articles, including one in the Daily Herald ( noted the screening of "Brigham Young: Frontiersman", starring Dean Jagger (Academy Award-winning actor who later became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). "The 1940 film 'Brigham Young,' starring Tyrone Power and Linda Darnell, with Dean Jagger as Brigham Young and Vincent Price as Joseph Smith, will be shown at BYU's Harold B. Lee Library Auditorium at 7 p.m. Thursday." James D'Arc, curator of the library's Special Collections Motion Picture Archives noted that "Brigham Young: Frontiersman" was "the first positive portrayal of Latter-day Saints following more than two decades of stereotypical depictions in movies of Mormons as misfits in America." Articles also noted that audiences were aware of how the film was also about Nazi aggression against Jews, as it depicted early Latter-day Saints/Mormons receiving the same type of mistreatment from anti-Mormons that European Jews received from Nazis. See also:

LEILANI LAND: Latter-day Saint filmmaker and playwright Melissa Leilani Larson is getting rave reviews for her play "Wake Me When it's Over", now playing at Thom Duncan's new Center Steet Theatre. It features chronic fatigue syndrome, chat rooms and us "well written, well cast and well directed", according to am AML-Lister.

REG: Latter-day Saint novelist and online journalist has written an article about award-winning British Latter-day Saint photographer Reg Wilkins, who had a cameo appearance in the 1966 British movie "Blowup." The article is at: