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

Weekend of July 30, 2004

[If table lines up improperly, use mono-spaced font, i.e. Courier]

Natl Film Title                Weekend Gross % B.O. Theatrs
Rank LDS/Mormon Filmmaker/Star   Total Gross Change  $/Thtr   Days
--- ---------------------------  ----------- ------ -------   ----
 9  Anchorman:                     3,132,946  -55%   2,032     24
      The Legend of Ron Burgundy  78,167,043        $1,542
    Brent White (editor)

12  The Notebook                   2,688,124  -37%   1,506     38
    Ryan Gosling                  68,257,495        $1,785
      (1st billed star)

14  Napoleon Dynamite              1,402,563  -13%     423     52
    Jared Hess (writer/director)   9,315,870        $3,316
    Jerusha Hess
      (writer/costume designer)
    Jon Heder (1st billed star)
    Aaron Ruell (3rd billed star)
    Jeremy Coon (producer/editor)
    Sean Covel (producer)
    Chris Wyatt (producer)
    Munn Powell (cinematographer)
    Cory Lorenzen
      (production designer)
    Curt Jensen (art director)
    Tim Skousen, Brian Petersen
      (assistant directors)

28  Bugs!                            202,467  -22%      26    507
    stars Papilio,                11,542,250        $7,787
      a Great Mormon butterfly

33  Riding Giants (documentary)      133,505  -24%      44     24
    Jeff Clark                       976,155        $3,034
      (featured LDS surfer)

42  Around the World in 80 Days       75,226   -1%      76     47
    Perry Andelin Blake           22,941,725          $990
      (production designer)

56  Home on the Range                 23,778  -26%      57    122
    Roseanne Barr (actress)       49,945,112          $417
      (1st billed star)

66  China: The Panda Adventure         6,187  +29%       2   1102
    Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   3,834,640        $3,093

68  The Young Black Stallion           4,475  -39%       5    221
    Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   6,466,083          $895

79  The Best Two Years                 2,285  -25%       3    164
    Scott S. Anderson                927,710          $762
    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

SAINTS AND SOLDIERS IN THEATERS THIS WEEKEND - Finally, Saints and Soldiers begins its actual theatrical run this weekend, after racking up award after award on the film festival circuit. This long-awaited film is perhaps one of the most talked about of LDS Cinema release since "God's Army" and "The Other Side of Heaven" due to its very undeserved temporary R rating (it is being released with a PG-13 rating) and very favorable audience reactions at the various film festivals and preview showings. There is no doubt that this is one of the best LDS Cinema films released to date (maybe the best), but winning awards and rave critic reviews is one thing. It remains to be seen if "Saints and Soldiers" can actually get audiences into the theater. Do your part and tell a friend (or 10 or 20) about it. After they see it, they'll be glad you did.

MORE AWARDS FOR SAINTS AND SOLDIERS ... THE WEBSITE - Much as the World War II drama Saints and Soldiers has been taking home awards from film festivals around the country, the groundbreaking Saints and Soldiers website has won multiple awards for superior web design.

The striking visual imagery and stirring music in the award-winning motion picture Saints and Soldiers has impressed audiences across the country, and the website is drawing similar attention.

The new version of the Saints and Soldiers site went active Tuesday, July 13. Almost immediately the awards began rolling in:

Bombshock Award

Site of the Day

Flash Motion Graphics Award

The movie has won 13 Best Picture awards at film festivals around the country and is in the running for more. Ithas also garnered nationwide attention from Newsweek and National Public Radio. Critics and audiences alike are giving enthusiastic praise to this riveting film.

Saints and Soldiers tells the gripping story of a small band of Allied soldiers who are trapped behind enemy lines with information that could save thousands of American lives. Outgunned and ill equipped, they must battle a frigid wilderness and roving German troops to smuggle the critical intelligence back to Allied territory.

Be sure to experience the innovative new Saints and Soldierswebsite at

A REMINDER ABOUT LDSFILM.COM'S NEW REGIONALIZED MAILING LISTS - Want to know in advance when the latest film by LDS filmmakers is coming to town and which theaters you can catch it in? Sign up for the regionalized list(s) of your choice at We'll keep you in the know. We won't send you fluff ads - just good, solid, specific information that is relevant to you where you live.

FILMMAKERS: GOT A FILM THAT IS OPENING UP IN A NEW AREA SOON? - Let us know as soon as possible so we can let the people who want to see your film know their chance is coming up. E-mail us with any questions.

PRESTON GIVES HIS OWN TRIBUTE TO JERRY GOLDSMITH, 1929-2004 - I'm sitting down sending out some of the recent LDS film news, including last week's box office report. I'll send out the box office report in a few minutes. [Note: Preston is referring to last week's report when he wrote this.] I haven't looked at it yet. I send out the daily mailings... Tom compiles those into weekly box office reports, and also puts in the numbers and figures for the weekly box office chart... Tom mentioned he was going to say something about Jerry Goldsmith in the report...

So before I read what Tom wrote, let me add a few words, uninfluenced by whatever Tom has to say. If you follow movie news at all, you are aware that Jerry Goldsmith passed away on July 21st. I feel a little bad that I didn't send out any notes at the time, but I'll do so now.

Jerry (Tom as always referred to him by his first name) was not a Latter-day Saint, but his influence on American film -- and even LDS films in particular -- is immeasurable.

Jerry Goldsmith's name was not as well known as frequent Spielberg and Lucas collaborator John Williams. But a case could certainly be made that after Williams, you should be familiar with Goldsmith. 17 Academy Award nominations, including 1 win for "The Omen." Not only that, he wrote a ton of the movie and TV scores that you yourself have heard and loved. Most of the "Star Trek" movies. Poltergeist. China Town. The "Alien" movies. The Mummy. Gremlins. Hoosiers. Logan's Run. Forever Young. The list of films he scored is simple incredible: Over 300 movies and TV series. He even worked on many films made by Latter-day Saints. He scored "The Secret of NIMH," which as directed by Bro. Don Bluth. He scored Disney's "Mulan," which was produced by Pam Coats (a Mormon girl from Utah) and which tapped Donny Osmond as the singing voice of the male lead. Goldsmith wrote the music for "The Waltons," one of whose major writers and creators was none other than Brother Ernie Wallengren, one of the most influential and prolific filmmakers in Church history. Goldsmith even scored "Damnation Alley", whose main character is an ethnic Mormon (although Goldsmith was unaware of that fact), and which was set partially in Utah.

Closer to home, Jerry Goldsmith was Tom's teacher and mentor. co-webmaster Thomas C. Baggaley received his PhD in music just two months ago, and years before that he received his Master's degree - both at UCLA. While he was there, Thomas studied film scoring directly under Jerry Goldsmith. LDS film composer Christopher Brady (whose Hollywood-based credits are significantly more extensive than Tom's) also studied under Jerry Goldsmith.

Like I said, Jerry was not a Latter-day Saint. Obviously somebody of his stature had a say in what graduate students would study under him, and he certainly didn't have to take on two wannabe film composers from BYU -- two returned missionaries at the same time, straight from the boondocks of Utah. But Jerry Goldsmith evidently had no prejudice in these matters.

I've known Tom since we were both in high school. We were close friends then, and also while at BYU. Ever since I've known him he wanted to composer for film. But Tom's identity as a father, husband and as a Latter-day Saint is something I can't imagine he would ever sacrifice. Jerry Goldsmith let him study music and the movie industry at the highest, most advanced, most challenging levels imaginable, without sacrificing who he was as a person. This kind of acceptance isn't what everybody thinks of when they think of Hollywood.

I have never heard Tom speak an ill word about Jerry Goldsmith. Whether listening to Goldsmith in interviews for NPR or listening to Tom speak of him, I know of nothing about him other than that he was both talented and an incredibly good person, kind and generous. A true gentleman and a family man.

I'm not a filmmaker and I have no educational or professional background in film. But Tom does. Nobody has had more direct influence on what and how Tom thinks of film than Jerry Goldsmith, which means that Goldsmith's influence on is probably immeasurable.

SONS OF PROVO, OTHER LDS FILMS ABOUND AT IDAHO FILM FEST (HEADED BY GILLIGAN ISLAND STAR MARY ANN) - ["Sons of Provo" and "Saints and Soldiers" will both be screened at Spudfest. Both are LDS Cinema films. "Footloose," of course, was filmed in Utah County, although it was not about LDS characters. Many of the extras in the popular Kevin Bacon film are LDS actors. "Burying the Past" was made by University of Utah faculty and students. It is about the Mountain Meadows Massacre that took place in 1857 near the Utah-Arizona border. The documentary has been panned by some as simplistic, one-sided and anti-Mormon. But it has some awards (see below) and considering the usually pedestrian quality of films coming out of the U. of U. film school, "Burying the Past" is a relatively accomplished and well-made film.]


WHO IS THE GREATEST LDS CINEMA DIRECTOR? RICHARD DUTCHER OR RYAN LITTLE? - Who is the greatest LDS Cinema director? Richard Dutcher or Ryan Little?

No real story here... Just a thought question...

Bro. Dutcher's 2nd movie was "Brigham City," which many (including myself, but not Tom) still regard as the single greatest LDS Cinema film yet released. (Yes, I know that if you actually do the numbers, Bro. Scott S. Anderson's "The Best Two Years" received higher average critical marks than "Brigham City," but that was with far fewer reviews by national/non-Utah reviewers.) Ryan Little's 2nd movie is "Saint and Soldiers," which will be released on August 6th in theaters across Utah. "Saints and Soldiers" has garnered more festival awards than any LDS Cinema film in history: Audience Choice Awards or jury-chosen Best Picture Awards at a dozen prestigious U.S. film festivals.

Obviously there are a lot of other great directors out there... Kurt Hale's "The R.M." and especially "The Singles Ward" are HUGELY under-rated by the LDS critical community (for now). Hale's first two movies are actually quite a bit better and bolder and more important than even he is willing to acknowledge publicly. It's difficult to talk at length about most filmmakers who have directed LDS Cinema, because they have, thus far, only one feature film in the genre. Little, Dutcher and Hale are the only directors with multiple offerings. (Bros. LaBute, Hess, Treu, Merrill etc. are more succesful and better known nationally, but they have never directed LDS Cinema, i.e., commercially released feature films about LDS characters.)

Dutcher has long reigned far ahead of the pack when it comes to critical response and respect from the artistic community. But the word on "Saints and Soldiers" is so good... It just may be in a whole new league in terms of quality filmmaking. It could well be Little's last "LDS Cinema," if he successfully jumps the rail to solidly mainstream fare. (That depends somewhat on the ethnicity/religious affiliation of his upcoming feature "Love Surreal," which was written and produced by Latter-day Saints... but I'm not sure the characters are...) A lot of people will even want to say that "Saints and Soldiers" isn't LDS Cinema because Bro. Allred's character is the only Latter-day Saint in the film... (The same people think that "Rush Hour" isn't a martial arts film.)

Whether Little goes completely mainstream (non-LDS characters) or not in future films, or whether that's just talk and plans, remains to be seen. But Dutcher's 3rd movie is obviously LDS Cinema: "God's Army 2." And his next ones after that: "The Prophet" (Joseph Smith biopic), "Eleventh Hour Laborers" (started but unfinished black Mormons documentary).

Those are are many months and years away... For now, "Saints and Soldiers" brings Little on par with Dutcher in number of LDS Cinema films released, and may also bring him on par with Dutcher in terms of quality.

By the way, Dutcher earns NO extra points in the "greatest director" question for the fact that he wrote both "God's Army" and "Brigham City" himself, while Little did not write the films he directed. Writing a screenplay is not the same thing as directing. Obviously Dutcher is a better screenwriter. Nobody questions that. Little, on the other hand, is far and away a more accomplished cinematographer than Dutcher. Dutcher has always hired talented D.P.s for his theatrically released films. Little not only photographed "Saints and Soldiers" himself, he is ALSO the D.P. for "The Singles Ward," "The R.M." and "The Home Teachers," all of which really are marvels of handsome, attractive cinematography, especially given their relatively limited budgets and shooting schedules. Yes, we all know parts of "Out of Step" looks look it was filmed through toilet paper using your mom's video camera, but Little wasn't D.P. on that and, more importantly, he wasn't the one buying the film stock.

With much respect and love for Davis, Hale, Goodman, Anderegg, Jones, Black, Anderson, Rogers, Vuissa... all of whom have a strong fan following who would make a case for them based on their movies... I think the real question of who is the greatest director currently making LDS Cinema has long had a single answer: Dutcher. But with "Saints and Soldiers" must be made into a question: Dutcher or Little?

A READER RESPONSE: WHO IS GREATEST LDS CINEMA DIRECTOR, DUTCHER OR LITTLE? - [A reader's response to our thought question: Who is the greatest LDS Cinema Director?]

Your feelings about the greatness of RICHARD DUTCHER as a LDS Cinema Director who echo my own opinion. I asked myself the question of: "What film would I choose to share with other people IF I could only champion one film?" After loving and watching films seriously for more then 55 years it is not an easily task to select one very special film. It must be one that touches my heart and mind. Films that have become very special to me -- films that I love to return to often -- include: A MAN CALLED PETER; Dryer's ORDET (THE WORD) and THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC; Bergman's THE SEVENTH SEAL; Kazan's A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN; Ford's HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY and THE GRAPES OF WRATH; TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD; George Steven's THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD and SHANE; Penn's THE MIRACLE WORKER; Chaplin's THE GOLD RUSH; Cecil B. DeMille's 1927 silent, THE KING OF KINGS, and right at the top: F. W. Murnau's SUNRISE: A SONG OF TWO HUMANS. These are some that come to mind at the moment. BUT the film that I would choose would be Richard Dutcher's BRIGHAM CITY. Not only is this a masterfully directed, written and acted film, it is a motion picture that means more to me personally then any film that I have ever seen. This film provides a beautiful and powerful experience dealing with the atonement and the ability to receive forgiveness through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ -- even when we find it difficult to forgive ourselves. I feel sorry for those whose dismiss this film as murder mystery -- it is so much more then that!

---Hunter Hale

MAFIA NOT INVOLVED WITH UPCOMING FEATURE FILM W/LDS CHARACTERS - This Desert News article caught my eye, although it is really just an A.P. wire piece that has appeared in publications worldwide.

Soderberg's "Ocean's 11" holds the record for the highest-grossing movie that features LDS major characters. Two of the titular 11 are LDS: quirky young car enthusiasts from Provo, Utah who assist Brad Pitt, George Clooney, et al in an alternatively legal money acquisition in Las Vegas. The "Mormon brothers" (as they were called in the first film) are indeed back for the sequel, "Ocean's 12," which will probably soar to the top of the Movies with LDS Major Characters chart. Realistically, the only question is will "Ocean's 12" end up in the top spot, or the 2nd spot after "Ocean's 11"?

After "Ocean's 11" ($183,405,771 U.S. box office gross), the next highest-grossing film is "Rain Man" ($172 million), in which Dustin Hoffman plays a character only based on a real-life Latter-day Saint, but his character is not recognizably LDS in the movie. Third on the chart is "Deep Impact" ($140 million) although the movie's heroic LDS astronaut main character (played by Ron Eldard) is not explicitly identified by name as a Latter-day Saint character in the film. Fourth on the chart is "S.W.A.T." ($116 million), in which James DuMont's S.W.A.T. quartermaster character IS explicitly identified as a practicing Latter-day Saint, but he has too little screen time to be considered a main character... he is only a major character. A lapsed Latter-day Saint has the title role in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," but the movie does not explicitly identify Cassidy's religious affiliation. Donnie Brasco's boss explicitly identifies himself as a practicing Latter-day Saint in "Donnie Brasco" ($42 million), but the character isn't a title or poster-billed character. One has to go all the way down the chart to "Paint Your Wagon" ($31.7 million) to find another movie that, like "Ocean's Eleven," features a character explicitly identified as a Latter-day Saint AND poster-billed (role significant enough that the actor listed on the poster): In "Paint Your Wagon" actress Jean Seberg has the third-billed role as a Latter-day Saint woman who marries two gold miners (Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood) at the same time. Seberg's status as a Latter-day Saint actually plays a major role in the plot of the movie, which is not the case with "Ocean's Eleven," in which the brothers' LDS religious affiliation is merely fodder for a couple throw-away one-liner jokes, and a throwback to the LDS religious affiliation of Clem Harvey's character in the original Brat Pack version of "Ocean's Eleven."


CHURCH BALL (CONTEST FOR WINNING WALK-ON ROLE IN HALESTORM MOVIE) - Father fighting father and neighbor against neighbor, enduring fiercely in a battle that, if lost, could spell certain doom and eternal embarrassment. For glory. For honor. For crying out loud -- it's just church ball!

In the spirit of the game -- the legends, myths and tall tales surrounding church-sponsored basketball are fighting their way to the big screen, and dragging with them some lucky winners.

In an announcement Monday, HaleStorm Entertainment introduced a contest that will give away a walk-on role in the highly-anticipated film, "Church Ball," which is scheduled to film in late September. The contest, powered by, has already garnered over 1,700 participants -- each vying for a role in the film and several other prizes.

"The response the first three days of the contest was overwhelming," said Stephanie Packer, Director of Advertising for HaleStorm Entertainment. "We're expecting over 30,000 people to enter the contest over the next month and a half."

The "Church Ball" contest is open for anyone over the age of 14 and ends one week before production begins. Participants can enter for their chance to win at "Church Ball" is scheduled for a fall 2005 release.

HaleStorm first announced the film in 2002 during the release of their first feature film, "The Singles Ward."

"Church Ball has the potential to be a film that will appeal to more than just LDS audiences," said the film's producer, Dave Hunter. "We've taken a lot of time on this intentionally. This movie could, and should, become a classic."

"The concept is great because it's not just Mormon-specific," said Kurt Hale, president of HaleStorm Entertainment and director/co-writer of "Church Ball." "Church basketball is a part of so many different religions out there. The Mormons just happen to make it (in)famous."