Natl Film Title Weekend Gross %B.O. Theatrs Rank LDS/Mormon Filmmaker/Star Total Gross Chnge $/Thtr Days --- --------------------------- ----------- ----- ------- ---- 5 Home on the Range 5,507,064 -32% 2,735 17 Roseanne Barr (actress) 37,782,081 $2,014 (1st billed star) 34 Bugs! 127,817 +2% 25 402 stars Papilio, 6,841,696 $5,112 a Great Mormon butterfly 61 The United States of Leland 36,764 -69% 81 17 Ryan Gosling (actor) 273,411 $454 (2nd billed star) 64 The Best Two Years 27,236 +68% 15 59 Scott S. Anderson 650,469 $1,816 (writer/producer/director) Michael Flynn (producer) Fred C. Danneman (executive producer) Gordon Lonsdale (cinematographer) Wynn Hougaard (editor) Michael McLean (songwriter, music supervisor) Dave Sapp (line producer/1st A.D./unit production manager) Darin Anderson (production manager) Michael L. McDonough (sound editor) Rebecca Nibley (costume designer) Actors: K.C. Clyde, Kirby Heyborne, David Nibley, Cameron Hopkin, Scott Christopher, Michael Flynn 71 Latter Days 20,598 -48% 13 80 C. Jay Cox (writer/director) 660,425 $1,584 LDS main characters 78 The Book of Mormon Movie Vol. 1 15,602 +280% 17 220 Gary Rogers 1,599,092 $917 (writer/producer/director) Craig Clyde (screenplay) David Hales (co-producer, editor) Ira Baker (editor) Robert C. Bowden (composer) Actors: Bryce Chamberlain, Mark Gollaher, Jan Broberg Felt, Cragun Foulger, Jacque Gray, Kirby Heyborne, Michael Flynn 89 The Young Black Stallion 10,002 -23% 16 116 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 6,262,928 $625 133 Galapagos 656 4 1634 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 14,444,902 $164 135 Pride and Prejudice 584 1 136 Andrew Black (director) 322,305 $584 Jason Faller (producer) Kynan Griffin (co-producer) Anne K. Black (screenplay/produc. designer) Jason Faller; Katherine Swigert (screenplay) Travis Cline (cinematographer) Ben Carson (composer) Alexander Vance (editor) Actors: Ben Gourley, Hubbel Palmer, Amber Hamilton, Carmen Rasmusen
VIDEO HEAVEN - If you are one of those who consistently puts off seeing the latest releases of movies by LDS filmmakers until they arrive on video, you are going to spend the month of May and the first part of June in LDS movie-maker heaven. Scheduled for video/DVD releases during the month of May are "The Book of Mormon, Volume 1: The Journey" on May 4th and "The Legend of Johnny Lingo" on May 11th. Soon after that (June 1st to be precise), the latest film from Halestorm Entertainment, "The Home Teachers," is scheduled to hit video store shelves, and although I do not have an exact release date, the last time I spoke with Christian Vuissa, he told me that his award-winning film, "Unfolding" was at the presses and should be available on DVD very soon. And if that's not enough for you, there are plenty of other direct-to-video releases expected out any time, including John Lyde's charming film "Mariah's Prayer." In the meantime, LDS Cinema films keep churning out interesting numbers in the theaters. "The Book of Mormon Movie" approached the $1.6 million mark - it probably passed that total during the week actually - and "The Best Two Years" continued an impressive run, opening in theaters in Arizona this past weekend.
ELLA ENCHANTED - 10 days out, #8 $4,241,089, $2,187 $13,579,980 Total. (Outperforming "The Passion of the Christ" this weekend.
BYU-IDAHO STUDENT JON PETER LEWIS ELIMINATED FROM "AMERICAN IDOL" - This was a sad day not only for the Church, but for all of America. Although it is true that Jon Peter Lewis was an inexperienced singer, and not as talented as some of the other competitors, we wish he had stayed in longer. JPL ends up in 8th place, compared to Sis. Carmen Rasmusen's 6th place showing last year.
See also http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/inside.php?sid=3361
ARIZONA DAILY STAR REVIEW OF BEST TWO YEARS (3 STARS) - See http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/ent_movies/18175.php
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: GENERAL ARTICLE ABOUT LATEST IN LDS CINEMA, INCL. "THE BEST TWO YEARS" - See http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/suncities/articles/0417mormon17Z1.html
'SAINTS AND SOLDIERS' CHARITY EVENT SET FOR APRIL 28 IN SLC - See http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,595056348,00.html
Although the Deseret News used the word "premiere" in the above article when describing the charity event this coming April 28, this will not actually be the premiere of "Saints and Soldiers." But this special charity event on April 18th MIGHT Be the ONLY opportunity you have to see the movie for a few months.
The premiere of the long-anticipated feature film starring Kirby Heyborne and Corbin Allred will not take place until the movie is ready to begin is regular commercial run in theaters throughout Utah, and the rest of the country. THAT will happen late summer, perhaps August, of this year.
The movie has ALREADY been seen in over a dozen film nationally prominent festivals, where it has taken home the audience choice award or jury award in essentially every festival it has been shown at. This is the second feature from director Ryan Little, the director of "Out of Step." By all accounts, it seems that this is an even better movie than that critically acclaimed romantic drama about a dance student in New York City. Industry experts are predicting that "Saints and Soldiers" will be the BEST REVIEWED film out of any LDS Cinema genre picture.
Of the 15 LDS Cinema movies released thus far ("Saints and Soldiers" will be the 16th), the movies with the highest average grades from movie reviewers are Richard Dutcher's "Brigham City" and Scott S. Anderson's "The Best Two Years." A number of local critics have already seen "Saints and Soldiers" and have spoken very highly of it. Unless non-Utah critics judge it quite differently than judges and audiences at the nation's film festivals and the Utah film critics, "Saints and Soldiers" will almost certainly be judged by the press to be the best LDS Cinema movie ever.
Most movie critics are not even planning to classify "Saints and Soldiers" as an LDS Cinema picture, but will classify it as a war movie, alongside such movies as "Saving Private Ryan", "Patton", "A Bridge Too Far" and Mel Gibson's "We Were Soldiers."
"Saints and Soldiers" director Ryan Little is also an accomplished Director of Photography: He was the cinematographer of the feature films "The Singles Ward", "The R.M." and "The Home Teachers."
Kirby Heyborne has starred in seven theatrically released feature films thus far. "Saints and Soldiers" co-star Corbin Allred has had the lead role in as many movies as Heyborne, although most were direct-to-video or or direct-to-TV releases. Allred, who served a full-time mission in Australia, has only had a marquee billed role in one previous feature film: He had the third-billed role in "Diamonds," in which Dan Ackroyd played his father and Kirk Douglas played his grandfather.
Sharing the marquee with Heyborne and Allred is Larry Bagby III, also known as Lawrence Bagby. Larry is better known as a TV actor, particularly for his recurring role as the jock "Larry" on the TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Recently he starred in the Book of Mormon-inspired musical film "Liken the Scriptures: I Will Go and Do," in which he played Nephi's brother Laman. Heyborne also played a brother of Nephi when he had a major supporting role as Sam in "The Book of Mormon Movie, Volume 1: The Journey."
Corbin Allred has never played a book of Mormon character on film, but he starred as a full-time missionary in the popular video "Christmas Mission." Allred plays the only Latter-day Saint character in "Saints and Soldiers": a young solder who, just prior to the war, served as a German-speaking missionary in the same region where the story's war action takes place. Allred's assignment to fight as a soldier against the same people he once served as a missionary makes for one of the movie's more interesting and unique conflicts. Although "Saints and Soldiers" is Bagby's first major movie role, he WAS seen briefly in "God's Army," which is something that neither Allred nor Heyborne can claim. Well, Heyborne has CLAIMED it he was in "God's Army," but he really wasn't.
ABISH AND AMMON: THE MOVIE - The Liken the Scriptures website has information about the production of Episode 2: A Mighty Change of Heart.
LIAHONA FILMS NEWS: NEW JERSEY-BASED LDS FILM CO. TO LENS ON 2ND FEATURE - Liahona Films, an independent motion picture and television production company has announced that production has begun on the 2nd independent feature film from actor/director Jeff Profitt titled "Atlantic City Expressway". Filming will take place in Atlantic City and surrounding areas. "Atlantic City Expressway" is expected to be released on Video and DVD in the Fall of 2004. For more information log on to the movies official website at http://www.AtlanticCityExpresswayTheMovie.com
WALMART, K-MART TO SELL PRO-CHOICE CONTENT-FILTERING DVD PLAYERS - See http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,595056475,00.html
AARON ECKHART: DEFENDING THE FAITH - Here is an interesting interview with LDS actor Aaron Eckhart, with British publication The Guardian. At end of interview Eckhart mounts a fiesty defense of his faith as a Latter-day Saint.
DVDS BOOST BOTTOM LINE OF MOVIES: GREAT ARTICLE WITH USEFUL NUMBERS - See http://www.sltrib.com/2004/Apr/04202004/nation_w/158844.asp
MANDY MOORE'S ANTI-CHRISTIAN MOVIE "SAVED!" - This is an interesting story, and I think most of our readers will find it of interest, and worth reading about. But this is NOT directly about LDS filmmaking. The upcoming movie "Saved!" has only tenuous connections to Utah and LDS film. One of the stars is Patrick Fugit, an actor born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. Although he grew up around Latter-day Saints, and has spoken about the experience, Fugit has never himself been a Latter-day Saint. Another of the actors starring in the movie is Macaulay Culkin (as a wheelchair-bound atheist). Culkin, best known as the child actor who starred in "Home Alone" and its sequel, is the older brother of Rory Culkin. Rory stars as a Latter-day Saint character in a very three-dimensional and sympathetic lead role in the upcoming movie "Mean Creek."
Those are not the reasons I'm highlighting a few articles about "Saved!" These articles are interesting simply in how they address what appears to be an all-out anti-Christian polemic in the form of a teen comedy movie. I have read strong criticism from non-LDS Christian publications. Also telling is an early review from Slant magazine (shown below). Slant is very much a secular publication. It is not ostensibly liberal, but in an article about how each of its correspondents and staffers voted, over 90% of them voted for Al Gore in the last presidential election. Those who did not vote for Gore mostly voted for the Libertarian or Green Party candidates. Hardly a bastion of conservative thought. But the Slant magazine review of "Saved!" gives it 1/2 star out of 4, and levels strong criticism against the movie for being a one-side, black-and-white screed.
Many Christians appear to feel betrayed by Mandy Moore, the movie's star. Moore won many fans in Christian quarters for starring in a surprisingly pro-Christian movie. This was a secular mainstream Hollywood release, not a Christian market film, yet it presented a very balanced and largely positive view of a Baptist family.
Moore, who identifies herself as a practicing Christian, now stars in what appears to be a strongly almost ridiculously anti-Christian movie, but she has stated that she doesn't see it as such. Once again, her character is a Baptist, a student at a Baptist high school.
I want to be very clear that in pointing out these articles, and in opining that the one-sided nature of "Saved!" seems close-minded, as well as morally and artistically bankrupt, I am NOT defending the evils of Baptists that the movie specifically portrays. The predominant white Baptist denomination - the Southern Baptist Convention - is an outright anti-Mormon hate group which was founded on the principle of defending slavery and maintains itself to this day as a bastion of hatred. The overwhelming majority of Ku Klux Klan leaders were Southern Baptist clergymen. A major theme of the movie "Saved!", embodied by Mandy Moore's character, is racism from white Baptists directed against non-whites. Predominantly black Baptist denominations are dominated by race-bating leaders such as Jesse Jackson who line their pockets by subjugating and misleading their own people with a relentless message of African-American inferiority and ant-Semetic/anti-white racism.
But most Baptists, and most American Christians of any denomination, are conscientious, good people trying their best with what they have. The history and contemporary leadership of Baptist faiths is not a direct reflection of the character of lay Baptists generally. Also, the official, institutionalized racism of predominantly white Baptist denominations is a thing that is decades in the past, and even culturally is no as pronounced as the movie implies.
The problem with "Saved!" is it paints ALL Baptists, and ALL believing Christians, with a single, broad brush - an unendingly negative one. In the wake of the success of Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ," it will be interesting to see whether or not "Saved!" attracts a large audience of teens either unaware of its message, or perhaps, specifically attracted to it. Obviously I am no fan of Baptist denominational leadership and I am aware of the unfortunate high levels of anti-Mormon bigotry among Evangelicals in general, but I personally hope that "Saved!" tanks at the box office. It seems to be a movie that is offensive not only to Baptists, but to people of ALL religious faiths, as well as being offensive to anybody who appreciates truth over propaganda.
SLWEEKLY: DETAILED INTERVIEW C. JAY COX ("LATTER DAYS") - See http://www.slweekly.com/editorial/2004/feat_2004-04-15.cfm