Natl Film Title Weekend Gross Rank LDS/Mormon Filmmaker/Star Total Gross Theaters Days --- ----------------------------- ----------- ----- ---- 2 Final Destination 2 (NEW) 16,017,141 2,384 3 A.J. Cook (2nd-billed actor) 16,017,141 42 Sweet Home Alabama 115,520 137 129 C. Jay Cox (screenwriter) 127,033,919 43 The R.M. (NEW) 130,352 15 3 Kurt Hale (writer/director) 130,352 John E. Moyer (writer) Dave Hunter (producer) Cody Hale (composer) Ryan Little (cinematographer) Actors: Kirby Heyborne, Will Swenson, Britani Bateman, Tracy Ann Evans Merrill Dodge, Michael Birkeland, Maren Ord, Leroy Te'o, Curt Dousett Wally Joyner, etc. 51 The Santa Clause 2 57,272 145 94 Cinco Paul (screenwriter) 139,225,854 Ken Daurio (screenwriter) 62 Jack Weyland's Charly 25,575 21 129 Adam Anderegg (director) 706,623 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. 71 Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man 20,588 5 1004 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 14,868,118 74 Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure 20,218 7 724 Scott Swofford (producer) 13,907,316 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) Sam Cardon (composer) Stephen L. Johnson (editor) 93 Galapagos 2,867 4 1193 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 13,918,651 95 Handcart 2,711 4 115 Kels Goodman (director/DP) 77,163 Dave Sapp (producer) Mark von Bowers (screenwriter) Eric M. Hanson (composer) Actors: Jaelan Petrie, Stephanie Albach Chris Kendrick, Shannon Skinner, Gretchen Condie 112 Mark Twain's America 3D 457 1 1676 Alan Williams (composer) 2,295,730 114 China: The Panda Adventure 310 1 556 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 2,992,341
COOK'S FINAL DESTINATION #2 AT BOX OFFICE: Early tallies show an estimated weekend box office gross of $16,200,000 for "Final Destination 2," starring Latter-day Saint (and Utah resident) actress A.J. Cook. This number is just a few hundred thousand short of estimates for the Al Pacino movie "The Recruit" in the #1 spot. With 59 reviews counted, RottenTomatoes.com gives "Final Destination a 46% favorable review rating. This is actually a better reviewed than "The Recruit," which has only a 38% favorable review rating (with 108 reviews counted). Do the nation's reviewers simply like A.J. Cook better than Al Pacino, or are there other reasons why Cook's teen horror flick was rated higher than Pacino's CIA movie. $16+ million is better than LDSFilm.com's estimate of $12 million for the weekend. But remember, we said that was a conservative estimate. $16 million puts "Final Destination" right between two Billy Barty movies, "Masters of the Universe" and "Legend." The first "Final Destination" grossed $53 million, and at this point it looks like the sequel could match that.
Cook received 2nd billing in "Final Destination 2," after Ali Larter, who is the only returning star from the first "Final Destination." In its opening weekend "Final Destination" became Cook's highest-grossing movie. In 2001 she was the lead actress -- the 2nd-billed role -- in the ski comedy "Out Cold," which reached a total U.S. gross of $13,903,262. Cook had a major supporting role as one of the titular virgins in the critically acclaimed "The Virgin Suicides," the directorial debut of Francis Ford Coppola's daugher Sophia. But Cook's name was not an above-the-line marque name in that movie, which grossed nearly $5 million. Cook has had top-billed roles in a few direct-to-video movies: "The House Next Door" (2001), "Wishmaster 3" (2001), "Ripper: Letter from Hell" (2001), and "Teen Sorcery" (1999). But she has never received top-billing in a theatrical release.
With the $16 million from the opening weekend of "Final Destination 2," Cook moves up a few positions in the "Total Box Office Gross for Movies Starring Latter-day Saints" chart. Her total $30,100,000 (so far) puts her just short of Ryan Gosling ("Murder By Numbers", "The Slaughter Rule", "The Believer"). By next weekend she will be ahead of the $36,200,000 total for another Latter-day Saint horror queen, Dana Kimmell. Kimmell was the top-billed star of "Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D" (1982), which grossed $36,200,000. Kimmell, an active Latter-day Saint, largely retired from acting after "Friday the 13th Part 3" to be a full-time homemaker. She and her family were profiled a few years ago in a Latter-day Saint magazine. By next week, by which time "Final Destination 2" will have grossed at least $6 million more, Cook will surpass Kimmell's total and solidify her position as the top-grossing active Latter-day Saint actress working today. Because actresses such as Terry Moore and Patricia Wright are retired, the next-highest grossing Latter-day Saint actress is Jacque Gray, with $2.6 million as the lead actress in "God's Army." Gray has also been cast as the lead actress in Gary Rogers' Book of Mormon movie. Gray's box office puts her ahead of a number of other currently-working Latter-day Saint actresses, including Sarah Schaub, Tayva Patch, Connie Young, Carrie Morgan, Heather Beers and Jan Broberg Felt. All of these actresses lag behind the $313 million total U.S. gross earned by 8 movies that non-churchgoing Latter-day Saint actress Eliza Dushku has had a poster-billed role in.
THE R.M. SETS BOX OFFICE RECORD: "The R.M." set a new record with the highest-ever opening weekend box office performance for an LDS Cinema film.
Title Opening Weekend Box Office ------------------------------------ The R.M. (2003) $130,352 Brigham City (2001) 103,629 God's Army (2000) 88,584 Jack Weyland's Charly (2002) 56,900 Other Side of Heaven (2001) 55,765 The Singles Ward (2002) 46,649 Handcart (2002) 20,000
"The R.M.", directed by Kurt Hale and starring Kirby Heyborne, opened last Friday in about 15 theaters, taking in $130,352 total, with an extremely high per screen average of $8,690. This makes "The R.M." the 6th highest grossing LDS Cinema film of all time, behind The Other Side of Heaven, God's Army, The Singles Ward, Brigham City, and Charly; ahead of Out of Step (as far as we know) and ahead of Handcart. The question can be asked, will this movie change Hale's position on the list of Top-Grossing Latter-day Saint Film Directors who are currently working. Short answer: Probably not. Hale, with 1,250,798 for "The Singles Ward," is right behind Richard Dutcher, with $3,533,902 for "God's Army" and "Brigham City." For Hale's position to change now, "The R.M." would have to gross $2,283,104 at the box office, which would be about $1 million MORE than "The Singles Ward." It is true that "The R.M." has received slightly better reviews than "The Singles Ward." This may draw out some audiences. But part of the reason "The Singles Ward" was so successful was its novelty as the first and only COMEDY among LDS Cinema movies. "The R.M." doesn't have this advantage. Its broad descriptors -- comedy, romance, missionaries -- can now be found in other movies. The budget for "The R.M." was roughly the same as "The Singles Ward," so if it does equally well at the box office it can be considered equally successful. But nearly doubling its predecessor's box office performance seems unlikely, unless it receives a considerably more aggressive P&A and release schedule.
R.M. REVIEWS - Utah critics rank "The R.M." as the 5th greatest "LDS Cinema" film in history. Okay, so that means it is TIED for 5th out of a total of 8... Listed according to average critics' grade:
Title (Year) Budget BoxOf Gross OpWknd Thtr SLT DN OSE DH Avg. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- God's Army $ 300,000 $2,628,829 $ 88,584 3 2.5 3 2.5 B+ 71 Brigham City 1,000,000 905,073 103,629 51 3 2.5 2.5 B 69 Out of Step 200,000 7 3 2.5 2 B 66 Other Side of Heaven 7,000,000 4,710,000+ 55,765 2 2.5 2.5 2.5 C+ 62 The R.M. 500,000 15 2 2 2.5 B- 58 Jack Weyland's Charly 950,000 650,100+ 56,900 36 2 2 2.5 B- 58 Handcart 300,000 73,000+ 20,000 18 2.5 2.5 2 C- 55 The Singles Ward 500,000 1,243,926+ 46,649 11 1 2 2.5 C- 45OpWknd: Total gross box office ticket sales in the opening weekend.
SLT: Salt Lake Tribune
DN: Deseret News
OSE: Ogden Standard-Examiner
DH: Daily Herald (Utah County)
The number of stars or grades were not always increased -- mostly stayed the same, but they said in their reviews that Hale's second feature was better.
Deseret News: 2 stars
Salt Lake Tribune: 2 stars
Salt Lake City Weekly: 2 stars
Ogden Standard-Examiner: 2.5 stars
Daily Herald (Utah County): B-
St. George Spectrum: B+
Tooele Transcript-Bulletin: B
Meridian Magazine: 2.5 stars
Scott Renshaw of Salt Lake City Weekly likes "The R.M." more than he liked "The Singles Ward." He gave both the same grade -- 2 stars - but he says "The R.M." is better. Robert Kirby, Salt Lake Tribune humor columnist, recommends "The R.M." "Is "The R.M." any good? Would I recommend it to anyone I liked? Well, it made me laugh. It made my wife laugh. That's something any religious culture needs plenty of." Meridian Magazine has published a review of "The R.M." written by film composer Thomas C. Baggaley. The review gives the movie 2.5 stars. Andrew Robison in the College Times, the newspaper of Utah Valley State College called "The R.M." the worst of the recent LDS Cinema movies.
THE SINGLES WARD FINANCIALLY SUCCESSFUL - The new Deseret News interview with Kurt Hale, and other sources, report over 100,000 copies of "The Single Ward" DVD/video sold. This, added to the movie's $1,250,798 box office gross adds up to more than $3,260,000 in total gross sales for the movie, which cost about $500,000 for combined budget and P&A. Now, that's GROSS... This doen't mean Hale and co. are walking around with $2,760,000 in their pockets. You have to factor in considerable cuts going to theaters, the video/DVD distributors, and the retailers. (The movie was self-distributed to theaters, so that saved a bunch.) But seriously, not bad for a guy's first movie.
NEW GENERAL ARTICLES ABOUT LDS CINEMA: Daily Universe (BYU) article: "LDS-themed movies create opportunity, spark controversy." See http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/41857 . College Times (Utah Valley State College): "Love 'em or Loathe 'em: LDS films generate strong reaction." See: http://www.netxnews.net/vnews/display.v/ART/2003/02/02/3e3eba5b4ca47
LDS FILM FESTIVAL SCREENPLAY WINNERS ANNOUNCED - The winners of last year's feature script competition have finally been determined. WINNERS FEATURE SCRIPT COMPETITION:
3rd Place and $ 50.00:
Hubbel Palmer: "Something That Happened"
2nd Place and $ 150.00:
Ben Gourley: "Tusouka"
1st Place and $ 400.00:
Emily Stephens: "The Last Hope"
Nathan Scoll: "Serpents in the Wild"
Brian Taylor: "Forgotten Apple Seed"
Aaron Orullian: "Mt. Pleasant"
SHeDAISY TOPS SINGER/SONGWRITERS-FOR-MOVIE CHART: Deseret News has an in-depth article about SHeDAISY, the country group formed by 3 Osborne sisters from Magna, all of whom are active Latter-day Saints. It is interesting to note that the SHeDAISY girls top the chart of Total Box Office gross by Latter-day Saint singers/songwriters. This due to their songs featured in 2 high-grossing 2002 movies: "Santa Claus 2" and "Sweet Home Alabama."
Latter-day Saint Singer/Songwriters: Total Box Office Gross Osborn sisters (SHeDAISY) $266,005,401 Randy Bachman $247,012,027 Orrin Hatch $122,836,075 Donny Osmond $120,620,254 Janice Kapp Perry $57,858,021 Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker $35,228,696 Gladys Knight $34,667,015 Maren Ord $34,091,254 Roberta Shore $29,000,000 Ryan Shupe $3,533,902 Greg Simpson $2,628,829 Julie de Azevedo $2,628,829 Clara W. McMaster $1,250,798 Jamen Brooks $1,250,798 John Hancock $1,250,798 Tim Fullmer $1,250,798 Brett Raymond $655,471 Jeremy Elliott $655,471
More artists are listed in the full chart. A number of singers/songwriters who contributed to "The R.M." will go up on this chart as that movie plays in theaters. See the full chart at: http://www.ldsfilm.com/lds_box.html
NAME CONFUSION - So that there is no confusion regarding the name of the new Kurt Hale/Dave Hunter movie "The R.M." "R.M." simply stands for "Returned Missionary." This is common vernacular used by Latter-day Saints to refer to a missionary who has completed his 2 year mission (1 1/2 years for women) and returned home. "R.M." does NOT stand for "Rain Main." It is true that Dustin Hoffman's character in "Rain Man" was based on real-life Latter-day Saint autistic mega-savant Kim Peek, and that the movie featured Latter-day Saint producer Gerald R. Molen in the 4th-billed role as psychiatrist "Dr. Bruner." (Molen was also the co-producer). But, really, these movies have NOTHING to do with each other. Note that Peek, because of his autism, never served a mission. It should also be noted that "R.M." does NOT stand for "The Running Man." Neither the 1963 Carol Reed movie nor the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie by with this title have anything to do with missionaries or Latter-day Saints. Although, oddly enough, actor Lincoln Hoppe, one of the stars of "The R.M." DID star in a well known commerical titled "Running Man." It was an ad for Low Book Sales auto dealership. And it is an odd coincidence that Latter-day Saint film editor Steven Ramirez was first assistant editor for the Schwarzenegger "R.M." Ramirez most recently marked his directorial debut by helming the feature film "The Legend of Johnny Lingo," which was produced by Jerry Molen. And just so there is no confusion, "R.M." does NOT stand for "Rosary Murders", "Roger & Me", "The Real McCoy", "Renaissance Man", "Radioland Murders", "Rocket Man", "Rough Magic", "Rugrats Movie", "Return to Me", "Racing with the Moon", "La Reine Margot", or "Robot Monster." Hopefully we can put these rumors to rest.
MORE OUT OF STEP REVIEWS - The newest issue of Irreantum (Autumn 2002) features 4 full pages of reviews of the Latter-day Saint-themed feature film "Out of Step." One review was written by Preston Hunter, the other was written by Irreantum film editor D. Michael Martindale. The "Out of Step" reviews have never been published anywhere else before, including online. This issue also features an in depth interview with author Douglas Thayer, whose story "Greg" was the basis for the critically acclaimed Latter-day Saint-themed direct-to-video film "Only Once," directed by Rocco DeVilliers. Plus 4 pages about news of recent events in the LDS film world. (Mostly of this section is material LDSFilm.com newslist subscribers are already familiar with, because most of it is taken from material originating here.) And of course there's all the literature stuff, which makes up the bulk of the issue, including a fascinating interview with writer and CoC member Paul Edwards about his new murdery mystery The Angel Acronym... reviews of new books, including Jeff Call's _Mormonville_ and Samuelsen's play "Peculiarities"... So be sure to check it out.
LELAND TO BE DISTRIBUTED BY PARAMOUNT CLASSICS - "The United States of Leland," starring Latter-day Saint actor Ryan Gosling in the title role, premiered at Sundance and has been picked up by Paramount Classics for $2.1 million.
ONLINE LDS VIDEO STORES - For fans who don't live near an LDS video store (or don't live in Utah, where even Walmart carries these items), LDS Video Store (http://www.LDSVideo.com) is selling "The R.M." soundtrack CD for $14.95 and "The Singles Ward" DVD for $21.95. "The Singles Ward" soundtrack and video are also available. (Free shipping.)
Other online sources selling these items are:
Deseret Book: http://www.deseretbook.com
LDS Living: http://www.ldsliving.com
Latter-day Harvest: http://www.ldharvest.com
www.clicktobuyonline.com (Excel music CDs and Excel-distributed film products)
Hale Store: http://www.halestore.com (for HaleStorm products onlys)
OTHER SIDE OF HEAVEN DVD - Your first look at "The Other Side of Heaven" DVD: http://www.ldsfilm.com/pm/OtherSideOfHeavenDVD.jpg
* Starring: Christopher Gorham, Anne Hathaway
* Encoding: Region 1 (US and Canada only)
* Format: Color, Closed-captioned, Widescreen, Dolby
* Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
* Street date: April 1, 2003
* Feature run time: Approximately 113 minutes
* Suggested retail price: $29.99 DVD
* Features: commentary track w/ writer/director Mitch Davis, "Making Of" documentary, still gallery
IN THE SERVICE OF GOD - You can check out the film's official website for details about the new John Lyde film "In the Service of God" http://www.jklentertainment.com/service.html . Lyde's feature-length directorial debut was last year's missionary-themed "The Field is White," which he made on a budget of about $100, and which is now sold across the country. "In the Service of God" stars Ashley Judd and Brad Pitt. Hold on... sorry about that. The film actually stars Ashley Clark and Brad Clark. The music is by Jonny Taylor, who did the music for "The Field is White." Lyde was the writer, producer, director and editor. We haven't seen it yet, but an advance copy is on its way and we'll let you know what we think.
JOHNNY LINGO CAST AND CREW - "The Legend of Johnny Lingo" is scheduled to open Spring 2003 in about 300 theaters in the Intermountain West. The movie stars veteran New Zealand actor George Henare as "Johnny Lingo." In supporting roles are Joe Folau and Alvin Fitisemanu, who had major supporting roles in "The Other Side of Heaven." Other cast members include Kayte Ferguson, Tausani Simei-Barton and Fokikovi Soakimi. The entire cast is Polynesian. Brad Pelo is the executive producer, and is an investor in the film. He is the founder and CEO of NextPage, a company based in Lehi, Utah with 160 employees that develops software for peer-to-peer networking of file servers. Pelo was previously the CEO of Bookcraft, a major book publisher in the Latter-day Saint market. Pelo left Bookcraft when the company was purchased by its competitor Desert Book a few years ago. Pelo was also one of the founders of Provo-based Folio Corp., makers of electronic publishing tools. As far as we know, none of the people in the cast and crew are Latter-day Saints except for the director, Steven Ramirez, and producers Molen, Garbett and Pelo.
HEIMERDINGER FILM UPDATE - From Chris Heimerdinger's newsletter: [QUOTE] Summer of the Nephite progress report: The first seven minutes of the movie are DONE! COMPLETE! And ready to show to investors! I'm thrilled with how well it turned out-from first frame to last. If this doesn't raise a half-million dollars for me, nothing will. I've never seen a better film package. (But admittedly, I'm rather predjudiced.) Special thanks to Bryce Fillmore for his wonderful producing, Troy Hinckley for a marvelous theatrical sound mix, Brian Call for some fascinating original music--Man, I could go on and on! But hey, this is just the first seven minutes! Wait'll you see the whole thing! I wish desperately that I could show the opening scene to folks on the website. But not yet. Don't worry. Soon. The screenplay for the movie is also finished. Now begins the lonely process of raising the money. Hopefully it will go fast. As soon as financing is in place there's a ton of work still to do -- finish the novel, storyboard all the major sequences, cast the actors (I know many guests on the site have expressed an interest in this. Watch the newsletters to know when and where) etc., etc., etc. One interesting side note is that over the next few months I will be making a dramatic physical transformation. I have a small, but pivotal acting role in the movie. My character was introduced in the opening seven minutes, but when this character comes back into the film, he's fifty pounds lighter, twelve years older, and has a long, scraggly hair and beard. I've lost 25 pounds so far and I'm already looking pretty shaggy, but it'll only get worse. If you happen to see me between now and this summer, don't be frightened. I promise it all gets shaved off on the day we wrap principal photography. [END QUOTE]
AUDITIONS IN FEBRUARY - Kels Goodman will be holding auditions for "Scout" in February. Needed will be talented young men who can play scout-age kids (12 to 18). (Don't have to be those ages -- but have to be able to play those ages.) Goodman's first feature film was "Yankee 2 Kilo: A Comedy", about the Y2K scare, and he followed this up with "Handcart", now in theaters. "Scout" is an action adventure film not specifically in the "LDS Cinema" genre.
WANT TO HELP WITH THE BOOK OF MORMON MOVIE? - From a newsletter distributed by Gary Rogers' production company: [QUOTE] If you live in or near any of the following locations and would like to volunteer yourself to work on this movie please send an email to: email@example.com and let us know where you live and that you are interested in helping on this movie. If we have a spot for you and you are available then we would be happy to have you! These volunteer positions may entail duties such as, cleaning sets and locations, running errands, assisting crew when necessary, and other miscellaneous jobs as needed. Typically the "credit" for this kind of volunteer work is "Production Assistant", "Intern", or other as deemed appropriate.
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Ogden, Utah
- Green River, Utah
- Moab, Utah
- Los Angeles, CA
- Puerta Vallarta, Mexico
- Saudi Arabia, Jordan, or Morocco
MOTHER ROLE NEEDS TO BE FILLED - From And Action Acting Studio: Adam Lawson is looking to cast the part of the "Mother" for his film. If you fit the description, call Skylar 801-787-6777 for details. . .and mention Michelle Wright sent you. Specifications for actress: Age 45-55. Female. Caucasian. Average size. It is a 35mm short film project that will be headed for the Cannes Film festival. Adam Lawson is directing. Contact SKYLAR at 801-787-6777 if you are interested.