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

Weekend of September 27, 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
---  ----------------------------- -----------  -----  ----
 1   Sweet Home Alabama (NEW)       35,648,740   3293     3
     C. Jay Cox (screenwriter)      35,648,740

15   City by the Sea                   764,416   1034    24
     Eliza Dushku (actress)         21,629,419

30   Master of Disguise                166,396    370    59
     Perry Andelin Blake (director) 39,417,739

31   Possession                        155,506    292    45
     Neil LaBute (director)          9,945,634
     Aaron Eckhart (lead male actor)

36   Minority Report                   109,927    158   101
     Gerald Molen (producer)       131,719,843

48   Jack Weyland's Charly (NEW)        56,900     36     3
     Adam Anderegg (director)           56,900
     Jack Weyland (book author)
     Janine Gilbert (screenwriter)
     Lance Williams, Micah Merrill (producers)
     Tip Boxell (co-producer)
     Bengt Jan Jonsson (cinematographer)
     Aaron Merrill (composer)
     Micah Merrill (film editor)
     Actors: Heather Beers, Jeremy Elliott,
        Adam Johnson, Jackie Winterrose Fullmer,
        Diana Dunkley, Gary Neilson, Lisa McCammon,
        Randy King, Bernie Diamond, etc.

52   The Divine Secrets of the          42,142    101   115
     Ya-Ya Sisterhood               69,542,820

77   Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure   14,886      8   598
     Scott Swofford (producer)      13,458,343
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)
     Sam Cardon (composer)
     Stephen L. Johnson (film editor)

79   The Believer                       14,171      9   136
     Ryan Gosling (lead actor)         406,035

81   Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man   13,741      5   878
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   14,012,357

86   The Singles Ward                   12,970     12   241
     Kurt Hale (writer/director)     1,222,696
     John E. Moyer (writer)
     Dave Hunter (producer)
     Ryan Little (cinematographer)
     Cody Hale (composer)
     Wynn Hougaard (film editor)
     Actors: Will Swenson, Connie Young,
        Daryn Tufts, Kirby Heyborne,
        Michael Birkeland, Robert Swenson,
        Wally Joyner, Lincoln Hoppe,
        Sedra Santos, etc.

99   ESPN's Ultimate X                   6,837     13   143
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    4,166,616

104  Galapagos                           5,321      4  1067
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   13,717,347

113  China: The Panda Adventure          4,233      4   430
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    2,855,987

145  Ziggy Stardust & Spiders from Mars    740      2    82
     Mick Ronson (2nd billed actor)    107,811

146  The Other Side of Heaven              701      3   290
     Mitch Davis (writer/director)   4,712,637
     John H. Groberg (author/character)
     Gerald Molen, John Garbett (producers)
     Steven Ramirez (film editor)

149  Mark Twain's America 3D               571      2  1550
     Alan Williams (composer)        2,269,925

CHARLY SETS RECORD: "Jack Weyland's Charly" earned the highest-ever total opening weekend box office gross for a non-Dutcher Latter-day Saint-themed feature film. The weekend's box office gross for "Charly" was $56,900, a bit more than the opening weekends for "The Other Side of Heaven" (55,765) and "The Singles Ward" (46,649). But "The Other Side of Heaven" opened in just 2 theaters, and "The Singles Ward" opened in just 11, so "Charly", which opened in 36 theaters, had a lower per-theater gross. Richard Dutcher's "God's Army" and "Brigham City" both had higher grossing opening weekends than "Charly." Dutcher's movies also remain the best-reviewed movies in the genre, both by the local reviewers as well as by national reviewers.

Title (Year)                  OpWknd Theaters
God's Army (2000)           $ 88,584   3
Brigham City  (2001)         103,629  51
Other Side of Heaven (2001)   55,765   2
The Singles Ward (2002)       46,649  11
Out of Step (2002)                     7
Jack Weyland's Charly (2002)  56,900  36

"Jack Weyland's CHARLY" is the 6th feature film in the "LDS Cinema" niche i.e., theatrically released feature films featuring Latter-day Saint characters, made for the Latter-day Saint market). Some industry insiders expect "Charly" to exceed the box office gross of "The Other Side of Heaven" to become the top-grossing film in the genre to date. Here are some other existing records or benchmarks to keep an eye on:

Top-grossing movie:
The Other Side of Heaven

Best Box Office Gross-to-Budget ratio:
God's Army
("God's Army" grossed nearly 9 times its production budget. In order to beat that ratio, "Charly", which cost a reported $800,000 to make, would need to gross more than $7,008,000)

Best Reviewed movie:
Brigham City:
75% favorable reviews at
Star/grade numerical average: 68.8

Best weekend:
The Other Side of Heaven, Weekend of April 12, 2002:
(After several weeks in release primarily in Utah and Idaho, "The Other Side of Heaven" opened around the country, playing in 306 theaters. It was ranked 19th nationwide that weekend, the highest national rank achieved by an LDS cinema movie and the only time that an LDS Cinema movie has broken into the national Top 20. A similar nationwide release is planned for "Charly" after the holidays.)

It is interesting to note that the record-setting movies mentioned -- God's Army, Brigham City and The Other Side of Heaven -- were all distributed by Excel Entertainment, the company that is also distributing "Jack Weyland's Charly."


HANDCART JUST AROUND THE CORNER: Kels Goodman's historical epic "Handcart" opens in just 10 days. This is the first theatrically-released feature film made by Latter-day Saint filmmakers about the pioneer era. How will it do at the box office? Leave your prediction in our online poll at:

Just as with "Charly", you can also send in an exact amount. Whoever comes closest to guessing the actual box office gross for "Handcart" (as of the first weekend box office report of February 2003) will not only earn accolades for their prognosticative acumen, they'll also receive a free "Spirit of the Sabbath" CD from film composer and co-webmaster Thomas C. Baggaley. (The CD is now on sale at Deseret Book and other stores where LDS music is sold.) But send in your prediction now, because we won't accept any more predictions (for the contest, at least) once the film hits the theaters. Send your contest entry predictions to:

SINGLES WARD ON DVD AND VIDEO: Today (October 1st) is the official release date for "The Singles Ward" on DVD and video (although I actually saw displays up in stores yesterday). Kurt Hale has promised a very entertaining commentary on the DVD, so we're sure you'll want to check it out.

INSIDE INFO ON "THE RM": The comedy feature film directed by Kurt Hale and produced by Dave Hunter: Everything is on track for a January 2003 premiere. Returning crew members from "The Singles Ward" are Director of Photography Ryan Little, composer Cody Hale, and film editor Wynn Hougaard. The Production Designer is new to HaleStom Entertainment, however: Doug Ellis, who designed "Out of Step" (and was a long-time art director for the Michael J. Fox TV series "Spin City"). One of the most exciting aspects of the production, of course, is that it marks the acting debut of Canadian pop star Maren Ord. She also cut a new song for the soundtrack. Maren, playing the sister of the lead character, is featured prominently. Hers is a supporting role, NOT just a cameo. This marks the first time an established, major label recording artist has had a major role in a Latter-day Saint-themed feature film. Who knows... Maren might be the next Will Smith. On the other hand, on Maren Ord's own website she said, "Keep your eye out for the upcoming 'RM' so we can all make fun of my horrible acting skills!" She's probably just being overly modest. She may have felt intimidated about her own talents after working with celebrities such as Orrin Hatch and Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner, who also appear in "The R.M." (If you've ever seen Sen. Hatch on television, you know he is extremely convincing as a senator. He should be on "West Wing.")

LITTLE'S NEW SHORT: Ryan Little (director of "Out of Step", Director of Photography for "The Singles Ward" and "The R.M.") has a new short film out, which is being shown at festivals but can also be ordered on video. The 20-min. short, "Freedom on the Water", stars Lincoln Hoppe (Handcart; Singles Ward; In Time of Need; The Last Good War). The co-star (playing Lincoln's little brother) is Mike Tanner, who appeared opposite Tayva Patch in the short film "4:53." Andree Peterson also co-stars. There is a description of the film, photographs, and a trailer for the film on Lincoln's website:

JOURNEY TO THE PROMISED LAND: More on the DeVore/Johnson/Swofford movie about Lehi (with photos) can be found here:

LYDE'S FIELD IS WHITE: The DVD version of John Lyde's missionary-themed "The Field is White" is now in stores. I just finished listening to the director's commentary. This is really something to check out if you're a filmmaker disparing, thinking you'll never be able to get something on shelves. Lyde spent less than $100.00 on this film, and it's in LDS bookstores stores all over the country. This can provide a certain type of "well if he can do it" inspiration to anybody who has the willpower and drive to make a movie. And for what it is, "The Field is White" is not a bad film. Don't buy it expecting "God's Army 2." But my wife and I enjoyed watching it when it first came out, and I found the new director's commentary fascinating -- a real glimpse at shooting an entire feature-length film an absolute bare-bones budget. The DVD also includes John Lyde's short film "Turn Here." It's a serious film, but we really laughed at how young the lead actor -- playing a police detective -- was. This was an earlier John Lyde film. His casting was much better by the time he made "The Field is White."

ANNE BRADSHAW MOVIE: I knew this was coming, and I'm glad that it's here... plans for an Anne Bradshaw movie. When I first read about Bradshaw's novels I was impressed at how fresh and distinctive they were, breaking new ground in Latter-day Saint literature. I also thought they would make great movies. Then one sees Bradshaw all over the internet, interviewing film people and hanging out with budding screenwriter Jeanne McKinney... Not hard to do the math. Will their movie actually be made or not? I don't know. But I hope so. Details can be found at

NOT FILM BUT THEATER: Here is a full-length article about the new All-LDS theater -- Center Street Theatre in Orem, Utah. I'm pretty familiar with the work and writing of theater founders Scott Bronson and Thom Duncan, and I have to say that this is a really exciting development. This theater will provide excellent opportunities for actors, writers and directors to do the most cutting-edge, high-quality, interesting productions anywhere in the state.

LABUTE'S SHAPE OF THINGS: For LaBute fans, a very worthwhile review of a new prodution of LaBute's play "The Shape of Things" has been published on "The Shape of Things" has already been filmed as a feature film by LaBute, using the original New York cast, and will open in theaters probably early 2003.

NEW BOOK ABOUT HOLLYWOOD LATTER-DAY SAINTS: Check out a new book about the Jacobs family, written by Kimball Jacobs and Shane Lester. At one time, the three children, Rachel Jacobs, Christian Jacobs (now lead singer of the Aquabats), and Parker Jacobs were all appearing in regular roles on network TV series -- on three different networks. The book is titled "Faith and Fortune: A Mormon Family In Hollywood", and can be purchased here:

HOGUE QUOTES HUNTER: You can currently read the 3-page article by RuthAnn Hogue about LDS films in the premiere issue of the print publication LDS Living. Hogue quotes's webmaster extensively. There is a separate but related article about breaking into LDS films, which is the subject of Hogue's upcoming book, at:

UPDATED LIST: Top 10 Latter-day Saint Feature Film Directors (who are currently working)

Numerically Ranked by Critical Response

1. Sterling Van Wagenen
2. Neil LaBute
3. Richard Dutcher
4. Bruce Neibaur
5. Ryan Little
6. Blair Treu
7. Kurt Hale
8. Adam Thomas Anderegg
9. Don Bluth
10. Richard Rich

NOTE that these rankings are in flux, especially when new movies come out. The newest addition to this list is Adam Thomas Anderegg, whose ranking is currently based only on 4 reviews. That number will rise significantly (and the ranking may go up or down), as the movie opens in additional cities and additional reviews are written.