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

Weekend of December 13, 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
---  ----------------------------- -----------  -----  ----
 8   The Santa Clause 2              4,051,966  2,207    45
     Ken Daurio (screenwriter)     125,424,182
     Cinco Paul (screenwriter)

35   Sweet Home Alabama                 82,509    203    80
     C. Jay Cox (screenwriter)     124,539,442

46   Punch-Drunk Love                   37,009     47    66
     LDS actors/characters:         17,791,031
         David Stevens,
         Nathan Stevens,
         Michael D. Stevens,
         Jim Smooth Stevens
           (James Smooth)

60   Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man   18,635      5   955
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   14,488,957

63   Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure   14,946      9   675
     Scott Swofford (producer)      13,727,876
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)
     Sam Cardon (composer)
     Stephen L. Johnson (film editor)

73   Ziggy Stardust & Spiders from Mars  6,311      4   159
     Mick Ronson (2nd billed actor)    136,805

79   Galapagos                           3,835      1  1144
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   13,851,528

80   China: The Panda Adventure          3,821      4   507
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    2,973,233

82   Jack Weyland's Charly               3,550      7    80
     Adam Anderegg (director)          555,279
     Jack Weyland (book author)
     Janine Gilbert (screenwriter)
     Lance Williams (producer)
     Micah Merrill (producer, film editor)
     Tip Boxell (co-producer)
     Bengt Jan Jonsson (cinematographer)
     Aaron Merrill (composer)
     Actors: Heather Beers, Jeremy Elliott,
        Adam Johnson, Jackie Winterrose Fullmer,
        Diana Dunkley, Gary Neilson, Lisa McCammon,
        Randy King, Bernie Diamond, etc.

     Mark Twain's America 3D               497      1  1627
     Alan Williams (composer)        2,290,963

OUT OF STEP AT DESERET BOOK - "Out of Step" can now be ordered online from Deseret Book. It IS in stock. "Out of Step" is also available online from Latter-day Harvest ( Or just pick one up at your local LDS bookstore. If you don't see it, ask for it by name. We are aware that a number of stores quickly sold out of their initial shipments.

ALSO AT DESERET BOOK - Also available for order online (and for sale in bookstores): "Spirit of the Sabbath: Music That Uplifts and Inspires", featuring an eclectic collection of music by film composer and co-webmaster Thomas C. Baggaley

CHARLY NATIONWIDE RELEASE PLANS (PRESS RELEASE) - Your chance to see the hit independent film "Jack Weyland's Charly" is coming Super Bowl Weekend. The movie that has been leaving audiences laughing and crying will open in select theaters across California, Arizona, and Nevada on January 24th, 2003. This is an expansion release with new cities being added each week through the end of April. Charly will open in the following cities in January:

Alaska (Anchorage)
Arizona (Phoenix)
Idaho (Boise)
Nevada (Las Vegas)
  East Bay
  Los Angeles
  San Bernardino
  San Diego
  San Francisco
  San Jose

DAYTON PROFILE - George Dayton is briefly profiled in a Deseret News article published last Sunday about single people in Utah. There's a nice photograph of him inside the HaleStorm offices, standing in front of the "Singles Ward" logo. Dayton, the head of theatrical distribution for HaleStorm, previously worked on film productions for his father, legendary producer/director Lyman Dayton. George Dayton is credited as a producer for at least two of Lyman Dayton's movies: "Where the Red Fern Grows (2000) and "The Last Resort" (1997). The newest feature film from HaleStorm, "The R.M." premiers on Utah screens in 6 weeks: on January 31st, 2003. correspondent Thomas C. Baggaley will be at the premier and will give you a full report.

Speaking of which... You can now pre-order "The R.M." soundtrack at HaleStore ( - featuring new music from Maren Ord, Sugarland Run, One Cent Stamp, Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband and the new single "Go Back" by Sweethaven.

SUDDENLY UNEXPECTED ONLINE UPGRADE - A completely revamped website is online for the upcoming Latter-day Saint-themed feature film "Suddenly Unexpected." There are pictures of all the cast members, crew details, and a ton of photos from the production.

PRINCESS AND THE PEA OSCAR NOMINATION POSSIBLE - Mark Swan's Utah-made animated feature "The Princess and the Pea" is among the animated feature films eligible for Best Animated Feature Academy Award this year. The nominees will be announced Feb. 11. Winners will be honored March 23. From an Associated Press article:
[QUOTE] Seventeen films are eligible to compete for the 2002 feature animation Oscar, including the part live-action "Stuart Little 2." Among the nominees are four from Disney: "Lilo & Stitch," "Return to Never Land," "Treasure Planet" and "Spirited Away," a 2001 Japanese film released in English this year. "Spirited Away" is eligible despite its 2001 overseas debut because award regulations allow a one-year grace period for international movies, John Pavlik, spokesman for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said Wednesday. "Stuart Little 2" can compete despite its real-life elements because more than 75 percent of it features some sort of animation, Pavlik said. The horse adventure "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" was DreamWorks' submission this year. Among the potential nominees were "Ice Age," "Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights," "Hey Arnold! The Movie," "The Powerpuff Girls Movie" and "The Wild Thornberrys Movie." Others on the list were "Alibaba & the Forty Thieves," "Eden," "El bosque animado (The Living Forest)," "Mutant Aliens," "Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie" and "The Princess and the Pea." [END QUOTE]

Does Mark Swan's animated feature "Princess and the Pea" (made in Utah by a predominantly LDS cast and crew) have a shot at an Oscar nomination?

Good news 1: There are 17 eligible films, so there may well be 5 nominees.

Good news 2: The nominees will be chosen by a screening committee who will view all the films and vote by secret ballot to decide which films get nominated. This is very important, because hardly anybody on the planet has actually seen "The Princess and the Pea," as it has only screened at a few film festivals, and has not yet been released theatrically (exceptit has played in theaters in Los Angeles, which is a requirement for any Oscar nomination).

Good news 3: "The Princess and the Pea" is a beautiful-looking, classically-animated film.

Question: Will the committee consider it one of the year's 5 best?

Of the 17 films, 5 seem to me to have no chance of receiving a nomination: Eight Crazy Nights, Hey Arnold! The Movie, The Powerpuff Girls Movie, Return to Never Land, and The Wild Thornberrys Movie. "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" and Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" will certainly be nominated. (In fact, the whole "nomination" process is almost superfluous. Just give give the awrd to "Spirited Away." It deserves the Oscar. It will receive the Oscar. Not only is it the best animated film of the year, it is one of the best films of the year, and it caps a stunning career for one of history's all-time greatest animators.)

"Lilo & Stitch" and "Treasure Planet," both from Disney, are also among the year's best animated films, although neither on par with Disney's greatest classics. If "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron," "Spirited Away", "Lilo & Stitch" and "Treasure Planet" are ALL nominated, that would leave only one slot left, if the committee chooses to go with the maximum possible 5 nominees. "Stuart Little 2" is a fine movie, but will purists decline to vote for it? It is really a live-action film with photoreal CGI animation, rather than an animated film in the classic sense, or even a completely CGI-animated film such as "Shrek" and "Monsters, Inc." (Utah's Senator Orrin Hatch wrote one of the songs on the movie's soundtrack CD.)

I'd call "The Princess and the Pea" a dark horse, but an Oscar nomination for it seems no more or less likely than a nomination for "Ice Age," "Stuart Little 2" and "Jonah: A VeggieTale Movie."

THOMAS'S GUESS - Without having seen "The Princess and the Pea" or "Ice Age" or "Jonah: A VeggieTale Movie" - although I am familiar with the VeggieTales videos and yes, I've seen "Stuart Little 2"... Judging just by my observation of the goings on at the academy, my guess is that if any fifth film is nominated, it will be "Ice Age". Just a guess.

BOOK OF MORMON MOVIE CASTING UPDATE - Gary Rogers' Book of Mormon movie website ( has updated information about the casting of the film... A round of callbacks was held at the director's house on 11 December 2002, with a small group of actors. Among the actors present were Jacque Gray (lead actress in "God's Army") and Richard Clifford (the actor who played troubled photographer from "Brigham City"). The website still invites actors to send in video auditions for 3 possible remaining parts: Joseph Smith, Moroni, Nephi. An audition will be held in Los Angeles, but ONLY for the part of Nephi (the lead role). The Los Angeles audition will NOT be an open audition. Those interested in auditioning there will need to submit photos and information beforehand. The "Filmmakers" page on the website lists two new people, apparently Hollywood veterens: Allen Lafferty as Production designer/art director, and Scott S. Lafferty as set construction coordinator. There are already some photographs of set models, including one of the ship that Nephi and his family build.

HONORED AT SLAMDANCE - Of the 1,800 short film submissions received by Slamdance this year, only 12 were picked to play in the competiton, two of which were student films, and were made by Latter-day Saint film students at BYU. It is the first time they have ever had two student films in the competition. The films are "Peluca" written and directed by Jared Hess, and "The Snell Show" written and directed by Andrew Black, based on the short story by BYU screenwriting professor, Darl Larsen. (Both short films also competed in the LDS film festival earlier this year.) The Slamdance film festival begins on January 18th in Park City. You can read "The Snell Show" online. This is the story which was the basis for the award-winning short film. The story is very short, only 9 paragraphs long. The film is very short too - but longer than 9 paragraphs. Maybe 10.

MORE RECOGNITION FOR "THE BELIEVER" - Previous Sundance award-winner "The Believer," an independent feature film which premiered on cable TV and had a limited theatrical run, was included in the American Film Institute's list of the Top 10 Best TV Programs of 2002. "The Believer", starring Latter-day Saint actor Ryan Gosling as an Orthodox Jew who embraces neo-Nazism, was controversial but almost universally acclaimed by movie critics. The movie, written and directed by a Jewish filmmaker, was singled out by the AFI largely because of Gosling's tour de force performance. The paragraph below is from the AFI website:

RATIONALE [for being named to the Top 10 list]: THE BELIEVER is proof that television can take the most difficult and disturbing of subject matters and bring them to a national audience with style and grace. Ryan Gosling's performance stands out among the year's most extraordinary acting achievements. The other movies and series named in AFI's Top 10 TV Programs of 2002 list were: Boomtown, Door to Door, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Gathering Storm, Gilmore Girls, The Simpsons, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, The West Wing.

TELOS SCORES BIG - Some of Utah's most talented filmmakers have been attracting attention from Hollywood studios. Tyler Measom (director of the 2nd Place LDS Film Festival film "Fall of Man") and Shawn Rapier (co-writer of "Fall of Man") have sold their feature length comedy screenplay "Weekend Wedding" to Friend Entertainment in Los Angeles. It is currently in development. They have been commissioned by April Films, Los Angeles, to pen the comedy script tentatively titled "Untitled High School".

WILLIS MOVIE TO BE RELEASED - "The Life of David Gale" is scheduled to be released in hit theaters on February 21st. The movie stars Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet. Latter-day Saint actress Katherine Willis (who served a mission in Portugal) has a small role as an anti-death penalty activist. Willis is remembered for her lead actress role in Rocco DeVilier's directorial debut "Pure Race" (1995). Willis also starred in the TV movies "Moment of Truth: Stalking Back" (1993) and "Little Heroes" (1992). She starred in the independent feature film "The Right Girl," but that movie has not yet been released. She had a small role as a police officer in the s.f. thriller "The Faculty" (1998). "The Life of David Gale" (2002) tells the story of a University of Texas professor (Spacey) who opposes the death penalty and finds himself on death row, falsely accused of murdering another anti-death penalty activist.

TOP TEN UTAH CELEBRITIES LIST - Salt Lake Tribune columnist Dan Nailen names "Top 10 Utah Celebrities" list. 8 of the 10 are Latter-day Saints:

10. Karl Malone
9. The Squatters St. Provo Girl
8. Superdell
7. Neleh Dennis
6. Utah's congressmen
5. Ron McBride
4. Mitt Romney
3. Gov. Mike Leavitt
2. Rocky Anderson
1. Main Street

The article (Headline: Utah's Most Boring, Overexposed Celebs) ran in the Salt Lake Tribune on 17 December 2002.

"SAINTS OF WAR," a new Latter-day Saint-themed feature film by director Ryan Little ("Out of Step"), producer Adam Abel, and associate producer Brian Brough, will be produced in Jan. through the end of Feb.

WILD WILD SPORTS ANNOUNCEMENT: Park City Television (PCTV) is producing a new show called Wild Wild Sports. We are looking for any Wild Sports Videos, Extreme Sports, Videos of Crashes or Bloopers, Fun Sports and most any Action Sports Video that is Provessionally Shot and Edited. We will air your video on PCTV and give you recognition. Call 435-649-0045 with questions.