Natl Film Title Weekend Gross Rank LDS/Mormon Filmmaker/Star Total Gross Theaters Days --- ----------------------------- ----------- ----- ---- 1 We Were Soldiers (NEW) 20,212,543 3,143 3 Keri Russell (actress) 20,212,543 35 Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure 156,045 19 388 Scott Swofford (producer) 8,282,348 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) Sam Cardon (composer) Stephen L. Johnson (film editor) 36 Ocean's Eleven 145,623 123 87 LDS characters: Malloy twins 181,856,578 41 Behind Enemy Lines 86,021 184 94 David Veloz (screenwriter) 58,686,050 49 Mulholland Drive 50,625 45 147 Joyce Eliason (producer/writer) 6,945,418 57 The Other Side of Heaven 31,098 19 80 Mitch Davis (writer/director) 1,549,094 John H. Groberg (author/character) Gerald Molen, John Garbett (producers) Steven Ramirez (film editor) 58 The Singles Ward 30,827 11 31 Kurt Hale (writer/director) 240,045 John E. Moyer (writer) Dave Hunter (producer) Cody Hale (composer) Ryan Little (cinematographer) Wynn Hougaard (film editor) Actors: Will Swenson, Connie Young, Daryn Tufts, Kirby Heyborne, Michael Birkeland, Robert Swenson, Lincoln Hoppe, Gretchen Whalley, Sedra Santos, etc. 75 Galapagos 10,449 3 857 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 12,370,407 85 China: The Panda Adventure 6,355 5 220 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 1,969,898 99 Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man 3,595 2 668 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 13,094,989 104 Island of the Sharks 3,088 2 1039 Alan Williams (composer) 10,644,236 105 Mark Twain's America 3D 2,254 1 1340 Alan Williams (composer) 2,165,275
For the first time since "Ocean's Eleven" debuted on 7 December 2001, it slipped below 1st place on THIS list of films made by LDS filmmakers or featuring LDS characters. After nearly 3 months in release, "Oceans" was ranked 36th on this week's nationwide box office list, one place behind the venerable "Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure." The IMAX movie about the Antarctic explorer was first released over a year ago, and is only playing in 19 theaters, yet it is once again the top film on this list. Latter-day Saints who worked on "Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure" include producer Scott Swofford, cinematographer Reed Smoot, and composer Sam Cardon.
As for LDS-themed films, "The Other Side of Heaven" and "The Singles Ward" continued to do well. Last week "Singles Ward" was one spot ahead of "Heaven" in the national box office rankings. This week "Heaven" is one spot ahead of "Singles Ward." The two films were ranked 57th and 58th. Of course, "Heaven" has been playing 50 days longer, so although its per-screen average is over $1,000 lower, its continued ability to draw audiences is impressive. "The Singles Ward" opened in additional Utah theaters this week, and is now showing at 11 locations.
HEAVEN COMING TO ARIZONA: According to its official website, "The Other Side of Heaven" is opening ALL OVER ARIZONA in March. Already the movie is playing in Showlow. On March 8th it is scheduled to open in 20 more Arizona theaters.
WAITING FOR DUTCHMAN: Nathan Smith Jones has announced a feature-length "mockumentary" (fictitious documentary) about the birth Mormon cinema. Four young filmmakers race to become the "Mormon Spielberg." Richard Dutcher is consulting on the script, and will star in the movie. The budget is currently slated at $103,600, and the film is due to be released in September 2002.
IMAX THUMBS UP: The Big Movie Zone (IMAX website) has posted Ross Anthony's review by of "Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West." The reviewer gives this documentary a "strong B+." The movie, which will premier in April in Nebraska, had many Latter-day Saints in key roles, including director Bruce Neibaur, composer Sam Cardon, and cinematographer T.C. Christensen. It was produced by Lisa Truitt and Jeff T. Miller. THe review can be found at: http://www.bigmoviezone.com/filmsearch/movies/movie_reviews//bmz_reviews.html?uniq=72
Another IMAX film, "Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa," opens in six theaters in March, featuring a musical score by Latter-day Saint composer Alan Williams. So if you're in Fort Worth, Houston, Boston, Kansas City MO, Atlanta or Indianapolis, you'll have a chance to see it soon!
ENDER'S NEGOTIATIONS: Orson Scott Card's site has posted news about recent negotiations pertaining to an "Ender's Game" movie: "In February, Chartoff Productions Inc. and Fresco Pictures LLC received notice of serious interest from a major studio in making a live-action feature film of "Ender's Game," with Orson Scott Card to write the first draft (at least) of the screenplay. Nothing is signed; no money has changed hands; and if a deal is actually made, the studio will be issuing the official press release."
Scott is not expected to be cast as "Ender." More information is listed on Card's site: http://www.frescopictures.com/movies/ender/endersgame_update.html
SURVIVOR: Neleh Dennis (Layton, Utah) survived her first week on "Survivor" (Thursday, February 28, 2002). Viewers have two main questions about Neleh: How long will she last? Will she be in Kurt Hale's next movie?
AML: The Association for Mormon Letters held their annual conference this week, and announced the 2001 AML Awards. For 15 years the AML has singled out works of literature that have advanced the cause of Mormon Letters. Last year the AML presented an Award for Film for the first time, to Richard Dutcher's "God's Army." Although some (me, at least) speculated that the AML would continue to present a Film Award on a yearly basis, no film was given an AML Award for calender year 2001. It may be noted that, although Richard Dutcher's sophomore effort, "Brigham City," received considerable critical acclaim, including enthusiastic commentary by AML-List members, current AML Award rules prevent the same author from receiving an AML award in the same category two year in a row. Hence, "Brigham City" was not considered. The only other major feature LDS-themed film of the year was "The Other Side of Heaven."
This year's AML Award for novel is of interest to film fans. _The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint_, by BYU grad Brady Udall, was singled out as the recipient of the AML Award for Novel, from among a considerable number of distinguished novels published during the year. What makes this interesting is that Udall's book has already been optioned for film treatment by Michael Stipes, with Michael Cuesta scheduled to direct.
Many AML Award winners have had their writing made into films or videos, including Judith Freeman, Herbert Harker, Kenny Kemp, Neil LaBute, Carol Lynn Pearson, Anne Perry, Tim Slover, Douglas H. Thayer, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and Jack Weyland. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's non-fiction biography _A Midwife's Tale_ received an AML Award and was also made into a documentary. LaBute's play "In the Company of Men" received an AML Award for drama and was later turned into an award-winning feature film. But if _The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint_ is actually turned into a movie, it will the first AML Award-winning NOVEL to be filmed.