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

Weekend of October 11, 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
---  ----------------------------- -----------  -----  ----
 2   Sweet Home Alabama             14,261,720   3313    17
     C. Jay Cox (screenwriter)      84,712,801

23   Punch-Drunk Love (NEW)            367,203      5     3
     LDS actors/characters:            367,203
         David Stevens,
         Nathan Stevens,
         Michael D. Stevens,
         Jim Smooth Stevens
           (James Smooth)

29   Master of Disguise                217,517    846    73
     Perry Andelin Blake (director) 39,751,057

46   Jack Weyland's Charly              51,645     28    17
     Adam Anderegg (director)          247,342
     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.

48   Minority Report                    47,905     76   115
     Gerald Molen (producer)      ~131,888,000

53   City by the Sea                    41,116     85    38
     Eliza Dushku (actress)         22,226,347

57   Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man   34,449      6   892
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   14,115,479

64   Possession                         23,059     53    59
     Neil LaBute (director)         10,103,647
     Aaron Eckhart (lead male actor)

66   Handcart (NEW)                     16,722     18     3
     Kels Goodman (director/DP)         16,722
     David Greenslaw Sapp (producer)
     Mark von Bowers (screenwriter)
     Eric M. Hanson (composer)
     Joel Petrie (film editor)
     Actors: Jaelan Petrie, Stephanie Albach
        Chris Kendrick, Shannon Skinner,
        Gretchen Condie

72   Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure   16,411      8   612
     Scott Swofford (producer)      13,491,507
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)
     Sam Cardon (composer)
     Stephen L. Johnson (film editor)

84   ESPN's Ultimate X                   5,198      8   157
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    4,181,801

91   China: The Panda Adventure          3,997      5   444
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    2,871,543

95   The Singles Ward                    3,633      9   255
     Kurt Hale (writer/director)     1,243,926
     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.

98   Galapagos                           3,336      4  1081
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   13,730,519

110  Ziggy Stardust & Spiders from Mars    820      2    96
     Mick Ronson (2nd billed actor)    115,669

116  Mark Twain's America 3D               361      2  1564
     Alan Williams (composer)        2,273,678

117  The Other Side of Heaven              259      2   304
     Mitch Davis (writer/director)   4,716,644
     John H. Groberg (author/character)
     Gerald Molen, John Garbett (producers)
     Steven Ramirez (film editor)

KEENE CURTIS DIES - Prolific stage, screen and TV actor actor Keene Curtis died Sunday morning at the age of 79. You probably saw him on television on "Cheers" or as Daddy Warbucks in the motion picture version of "Annie". Curtis, a Latter-day Saint from Bountiful, Utah, won a Tony Award in 1971 for the Broadway musical "The Rothschilds."

TOP STORIES AT THE BOX OFFICE: HANDCART AND PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE: Opening only in New York and Los Angeles, "Punch-Drunk Love" topped the per-theater chart with a truly astounding $73,441 per theater in 5 theaters. This means that the $25 million-budgeted film took in $367,203 at the box office in its first weekend. Raving critical acclaim and legions of Adam Sandler fans almost guarantee financial success for "Punch-Drunk Love." The surprisingly violent and profane, strongly R-rated P.T. Anderson feature film is partially set in Utah and features as Adam Sandler's nemesis 4 brothers from Provo, Utah (played by 4 LDS actors who are actually brothers). In the movie the main villain -- the businessman Dean Trumbell played by Philip Seymour Hoffman -- is also based in Provo, but there is no indication that he is LDS (and the actor is not LDS.)

"Handcart" opened in 18 theaters, with a per-screen average of more than $1,000 per theater. Final numbers aren't in yet, but the movie grossed approximately $20,000 over the weekend. It opened across Utah and in Cardston, Canada. It will soon open in Idaho, Arizona and Nevada. Early reports are that audiences love "Handcart" and word-of-mouth should bring more viewers to theaters. Utah's major newspapers, the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune, both gave it 2.5 out of 4 stars.

The company distributing "Handcart" is Media Partners Entertainment (MPE), based in Phoenix, Arizona. This is NOT the same company that is currenly distributing the Hindi ("Bollywood") film "Road," and previously this year released "Kuch Tum Kaho Kuch Hum Kahein."

NEW RELEASES GALORE: This was a VERY busy weekend for new movies, with at least 18 movies opening in nationwide or limited release:

Brown Sugar
The Transporter
White Oleander
Tuck Everlasting
Knockaround Guys
The Rules of Attraction
Pokemon 4Ever
Punch-Drunk Love
Swept Away
Bowling for Columbine
Safe Conduct
Andrei Tarkovsky Retrospective
Ash Wednesday
Cuba Feliz

"Handcart" is one of the best of these new releases. Based on what we've gleaned from reviews (check out Knockaround Guys, The Rules of Attraction, Pokemon 4Ever, Swept Away, The Transporter, Ash Wednesday and Sade are all dreck or worse than dreck.

The African-American romantic drama "Brown Sugar", "White Oleander" starring an incarcerated Michelle Pfieffer, Disney's "Tuck Everlasting", Kels Goodman's Latter-day Saint-themed "Handcart" and Michael Moore's documenary "Bowling for Columbine" are the best movies that opened this weekend.

HANDCART REVIEWS - Salt Lake Tribune's Sean P. Means seems to be the local reviewer that liked "Handcart" the most. He specifically wrote that he likes "Handcart" better than "Charly" or "The Singles Ward", and gave it a better score: 2.5 stars. Deseret News reviewer Jeff Vice gave it 2.5 stars as well. Not bad. "Charly" now shows up on (finally). These developments mean adjustments to the mathematically-computed "Top LDS Film Directors" list - you can find the most recent results on the bottom of our home page:

5 LDS FILMS IN THEATERS: It was interesting to note that this weekend there were 5 LDS-themed films playing in commercial theaters. "Charly" was still going strong; in 28 theaters in Utah and Idaho, it was the top LDS-themed feature film in its 3rd week of release. In second place was "Handcart" in 18 theaters (in Utah and Cardston, Alberta) during its debut week. Then there was "The Singles Ward," still playing in 9 theaters (Brea, California; Mesa, Arizona; Idaho Falls and Rexburg, Idaho; Utah; Othello, Washington), even though the DVD had been on sale for 2 weeks. It is unusual for movies to continue their initial theatrical runs after being released on DVD/video, but they were doing it, taking in $3,633 over the weekend at the box office. DVD and video sales were strong as well. The LDS bookstore in Dallas twice sold out a standalone display case full of "The Singles Ward" videos and DVDs. "Out of Step" was STILL showing in at least one theater (the Carmike 12 in West Jordan, Utah), now over a month after its SECOND theatrical release. And "The Other Side of Heaven," now ten months after its initial release, was STILL playing in 2 theaters, one of them in Payson, Utah. This means that out of the 7 Latter-day Saint-themed feature films released thus far, only the earlist two -- Richard Dutcher's "God's Army" and "Brigham City" -- were not being shown in commercial theaters this week.

EIGHT-COW FILM - The Polynesian-themed feature film "The Legend of Johnny Lingo," financed by Morinda, Inc., the Tahitian Nonie Juice Company, is currently in post-production. Principal photography began on July 8, 2002 in Auckland, New Zealand and then moved to the island of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. Academy Award-winning producer Jerry Molen along with veteran producer John Garbett brought in the critically acclaimed Polynesian screenwriter Riwia Brown ("Once We Were Warriors") to write the script. The film will be the feature film debut for Latter-day Saint film editor Steven Ramirez.

ECLIPSE: A GREAT NAME FOR A FILM FESTIVAL - The judges for the upcoming Eclipse Film Festival have been announced. They are Deseret News features editor (and former movie reviewer) Chris Hicks, feature film director Rocco DeVilliers, cinematographer T.C. Christensen and casting director Jennifer Buster. These are excellent, talented individuals. And a group of people quite capable of understanding and appreciating locally made films. Seriously, if you didn't submit your film to Eclipse, you should be kicking yourself about now. Latter-day Saint filmmakers who are past Eclipse winners include Bryan Lefler and Krisi Church. Find out more at:

The full schedule for the Eclipse Film Festival has been posted on their site. There are Feature Film Q & A sessions with the directors, and screenings of the films, for T.C. Christensen's "Bug Off!" and Eric Hendershot's "Clubhouse Detectives". Krisi Church's "Shattered" (from last year) is going to be shown. Christian Vuissa's "Roots & Wings" is in competition, and is being screened twice. There's also Michael Buster ("God's Army", "Out of Step"), starring in the short comedy "Summer House." Plus Ryan Jensen's "Signal Strength" and the new Chet Thomas/Darrin Fletcher film "Simplicity." The awards ceremony will be hosted by KSL's Dick Norris. The post-award party features Jerone Wedig and Mystery Train. Plus tons of other films from all over the world. This is really an amazing lineup. You do NOT want to miss this film festival.

VOLUNTEER FOR THUNDERBIRD - A wide variety of volunteer positions at the Thunderbird International Film Festival in Cedar City, Utah are available. Past winners at the festival include Richard Dutcher's "Brigham City" and Kurt Hale's "The Singles Ward." More information at:

MERRILL ON BENSON ON CHARLY - Lee Benson is a very good person and a nice guy. But we have no idea where his brain was when he dissed the movie "Jack Weyland's Charly" in his column a couple weeks ago. Evidently Academy Award-winning director Kieth Merrill wondered the same thing. He rebuked Benson in a letter to the editor published in the Deseret News:,1249,410018431,00.html Writing a negative review is one thing. We have no problem with that. But Benson wrote an all-out, ethnically-tinged assault.

BRIGHAM CITY ON VIDEO - It's already out in DVD format, or you can rent the video, but word from Richard Dutcher is that the VHS version of "Brigham City" is now available, but only through the Excel Entertainment web site ( and LDS bookstores. (A shelf-full of the videos was spotted today in a Dallas LDS bookstore, so they're probably available across the country by now.) From the Excel Entertainment press release: "Richard Dutcher's hit motion picture BRIGHAM CITY will be available for purchase on VHS beginning today, October 15, EXCLUSIVELY at LDS Bookstores, and online at (Available everywhere else next spring.) Using the backdrop of a riveting murder mystery and a gripping final scene, this thriller sends a profound message of hope and redemption that makes repeated viewing a must."


Soundtrack CDs are also been available at LDS bookstores and related outlets for: "God's Army" "The Other Side of Heaven" "The Singles Ward." And "Welcome to Brigham" is the excellent CD featuring songs by Latter-day Saint artists inspired by the movie "Brigham City" although technically it is not a soundtrack. The "Out of Step" CD can be ordered online at and should be on store shelves soon. "Handcart" is the only Latter-day Saint-featured film without a soundtrack CD available.

SHAMELESS PLUG: Film composer (and co-webmaster) Thomas C. Baggaley also wants to remind you that if you're in an LDS bookstore Brigham City, you should be able to find a copy of his CD, "Spirit of the Sabbath." It probably won't not be on the shelf next to "Brigham City," but we imagine the CD section isn't too far away.)

SOMEONE WAS WATCHING - Latter-day Saint filmmakers Mark Goodman and Lee Groberg's new feature-length drama "Someone Was Watching" recently went on sale on DVD and VHS at We have previously announced that this movie won the "Best Feature" and "Audience Choice" awards at the SLC Film Fest a month or two ago. But we just learned that "Someone" has garnered top honors at the Columbus Film Festival (in Ohio) as well. The movie won a coveted Chris Award. This is one of the biggest--and most important--festivals in the U.S. Note that the DVD release has a number of special features, including some deleted scenes.

By the way, Mark Goodman and Lee Groberg, the award-winning team behind the PBS documentaries "Trail of Hope: The Story of the Mormon Trail" (1997), "American Prophet: The Joseph Smith Story" (1999) and "Sacred Stone" (Nauvoo Temple documentary), as well as the award-winning drama "Someone Was Watching", are in pre-production on their next feature, based on an original story by Goodman. It's a coming-of-age story set in a small town during the tumultuous 60's. Like "Someone Was Watching," this is a fairly low budget production, but if investors are interested in participating financially, it's not too late to contact them. Frequent Goodman collaborator James G. Jordan is also one of the producers of "Someone Was Watching" and the new project.

CALL OF STORY - BYU Creative Works is now selling Latter-day Saint filmmaker Sterling Van Wagenen's new documentary "Call of Story" - go to to find out more.

SEA ANGEL - Jaelan Petrie (lead actor in "Handcart") is the lead in Paul Green and Dave Skousen's newest film with the working title of "The Sea Angel" and is now two days deep into principle photography. The short film is set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War.

THATCHER AT BYU FOR HOMECOMING - From the Fall 2002 Issue of BYU Today: College Kudos - TEN BYU graduates will return to campus during Homecoming 2002 to offer lectures and receive alumni awards from their respective colleges. Fine Arts and Communications - James W. Thatcher, '75, began his professional French horn career at age 16 in Mexico City and continued his studies at BYU. He has performed as principal horn for more than 900 motion pictures, including Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump, and Beauty and the Beast. Such illustrious composers as John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, and James Horner request his services.

BAGGALEY ADDS - Thatcher is far too humble to point this out, but we are aware that he is not simply "one of" the leading horn players in Hollywood. He is THE top horn player, and plays on essentially ALL of the big budget films that use orchestral music. He has received several screen credits for solos - for example Steven Spielberg's "Always" (score by John Williams). (Tom is both a horn player and a film composer, and has met Thatcher on a variety of occasions and notes that Jim Thatcher is an incredibly nice person.)

GET THE INSIDE SCOOP - We've posted another exclusive interview with a talented LDS filmmaker. Read what Daniel M. Skaf has to say about his documentary, "The Birthing of Iosepa" at:

CASTING INFORMATION - ACTION CASTING, Michelle Wright Casting Director Michelle Wright will be casting a series of Public Service Announcements for Envision Entertainment entitled "Be a Hero - Teach a Child to Read." Auditions TBA.

Various Utah Productions
- Television series:
Touched by an Angel
extras call 801-256--1495
crew 801-355-2553

crew 801-908-8836
extras 801-296-7171

-Cable Feature:
Starts Production in late October
crew 801-265-8858


Date: 2 November 2002
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Venue: Thanksgiving Gardens Visitors Center, Thanksgiving Point, Lehi, Utah
Sponsor: The Association for Mormon Letters

Join Us for the Only Conference Devoted to Mormon Writing - "You Have Permission to Write"

Featured Speakers:
Geoffrey Card
Rachel Ann Nunes
Margaret Blair Young
Linda Paulson Adams

This year's Association for Mormon Letters writers conference will feature several published LDS authors discussing why creating LDS art is an important use of time for a person with talent and desire. Our goal is to have you walk away from the conference feeling like "you have permission to write." The morning will be devoted to presentations by our featured speakers. The afternoon will consist of classes and discussions on creating LDS art in the form of fiction, creative nonfiction, film and video, theater, and music, presented by other prominent names in the LDS artistic community. In between will be a catered lunch (included in the cost of admission) where you can hobnob with fellow artists, published or aspiring. Representatives of publishers in the LDS market will give you information on getting published. The Read Leaf Bookstore from Springville, Utah, will make the publications of our speakers and presenters available for you.

All this takes place Saturday, November 2, at the elegant and relaxing venue of Thanksgiving Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah, conveniently located midway between Salt Lake City and Provo/Orem. Please join us for the Fourth Annual AML LDS Writers Conference, the only writers conference specifically designed for authors of LDS literature. For the most updated schedule, see the conference website.



Title (Year)                 SLT DN  OSE DH Avg.
God's Army (2000)            2.5 3   2.5 B+ 71
Brigham City  (2001)         3   2.5     B  71
Out of Step (2002)           3   2.5 2   B  66
Other Side of Heaven (2001)  2.5 2.5 2.5 C+ 62
Jack Weyland's Charly (2002) 2   2   2.5 B- 58
Handcart (2002)              2.5 2.5 2   C- 55
The Singles Ward (2002)      1   2   2.5 C- 45

SLT: Salt Lake Tribune
DN: Deseret News
OSE: Ogden Standard-Examiner
DH: Daily Herald (Utah County)
Numerical average of graded scores from reviews ONLY counting four major Utah newspapers: Salt Lake Tribune (Sean P. Means), Deseret News (Jeff Vice), Ogden Standard Examiner (Steven Salles), Utah County Daily Herald (Eric D. Snider):
1  God's Army
2. Brigham City
3. Out of Step
4. Other Side of Heaven
5. Jack Weyland's Charly
6. Handcart
7. The Singles Ward

Numerical average of graded scores from all known reviews:

1. Brigham City
2. The Singles Ward
3. Out of Step
4. God's Army
5. Jack Weyland's Charly
6. The Other Side of Heaven
7. Handcart scores
(proportion positive vs. negative, as scored by that site):

1. Brigham City
2. God's Army
3. The Singles Ward
4. The Other Side of Heaven
5. Jack Weyland's Charly

[No RT.c listing is provided for "Handcart" or "Out of Step"]

Numerical average of all reviews combined with score:

1. Brigham City
2. God's Army
3. The Singles Ward
4. Jack Weyland's Charly
5. The Other Side of Heaven

Box Office Gross (as of 14 October 2002):
1. The Other Side of Heaven
2. God's Army
3. The Singles Ward
4. Brigham City
5. Jack Weyland's Charly
6. Handcart

OPINIONS EXPRESSED ON IMDB.COM (compiled by Christian Vuissa):

1. Charly    8.7 (9 votes)
2. Other Side of Heaven  8.5 (222 votes)
3. Out of Step   7.1 (16 votes)
4. Brigham City   6.8 (220 votes)
5. Little Secrets   6.8 (39 votes)
6. God's Army   6.6 (220 votes)
7. Singles Ward   5.8 (78 votes)