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

Weekend of February 21, 2003

[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
---  ----------------------------- -----------  -----  ----
11   Final Destination 2             2,994,241  1,518    24
     A.J. Cook (2nd-billed actor)   40,320,642

53   The R.M.                           39,794     16    24
     Kurt Hale (writer/director)       418,314
     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.

55   Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure   38,515      9   745
     Scott Swofford (producer)      14,050,202
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)
     Sam Cardon (composer)
     Stephen L. Johnson (editor)

56   Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man   27,972      4  1025
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   14,995,660

66   Jack Weyland's Charly              11,780     14   150
     Adam Anderegg (director)          761,341
     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.

82   Galapagos                           2,843      4  1214
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   13,938,905

90   China: The Panda Adventure          1,280      1   577
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    2,999,085

96   The Slaughter Rule                    227      1    45
     Ryan Gosling (top-billed actor)    11,716

AML AWARDS: The 2003 Association for Mormon Letters Annual Meeting took place last weekend. The AML Awards were presented during the Saturday luncheon meeting/award ceremony. The awards are presented for works published during the previous calendar year, so this year's awards are referred to as the 2002. "Roots & Wings", written by Mexican-born Latter-day Saint Agustina Perez (Maria Perez) and directed by Austrian-born Latter-day Saint Christian Vuissa,, has been given the AML Award for Film. This award has only been given once before to Richard Dutcher's "God's Army." The AML Award is a prestigious award only given to works of literature (and some film) which exhibit artistic excellence and contribute significantly to Mormon Arts and Letters.

"Out of Step", directed by Ryan Little, and "The Snell Show", directed by Andrew Black, were cited for Honorable Mention in the film category. Janine Whetton Gilbert was given an AML Award for Film Adaptation, for writing the screenplay adaptation of Jack Weyland's popular novel "Charly."

Playwright Reed McColm, the co-producer of the TV movie "Cab to Canada" (1998), and the writer of the documentary video "Set Straight on Bullies" (1988), was given the AML Award for Drama this year for his play "Hole in the Sky" and for his body of work. Film director and playwright Melissa Leilani Larson was cited for Honorable Mention in the Drama category, for her play "Wake Me When It's Over." Tim Slover, who has written a number of screenplays but is best known as a playwright, was also cited for Honorable Mention in the Drama category for his play "Hancock County."

Other AML awards given this year:
Novel: Chris Crowe, _Mississippi Trial 1955_
Young Adult Novel: A.E. Cannon, _Charlotte's Rose_
Picture Book: Rick Walton, _Bertie was a Watchdog_
Short Fiction: Susan Palmer, "Breakthrough"
Poetry: Kimberly Johnson, _Leviathan With a Hook_
Lifetime Membership: Lavina Fielding Anderson

* * *

COOK PASSES KIMMELL - Over the weekend the box office total for the horror movie "Final Destination 2", starring Latter-day Saint actress A.J. Cook, topped $40 million, putting the movie past the horror movie "Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D", starring Latter-day Saint actress Dana Kimmell, which grossed $36.2 million in 1982. Obviously Kimmell's movie is still far ahead if the totals are adjusted for inflation. A.J. Cook is currently the box office champion among practicing Latter-day Saint actresses who are currently working in movies.

THE R.M. PASSES LITTLE SECRETS - With last weekend's take the box office total for Kurt Hale's "The R.M." is at $418,314, meaning it has passed the box office performance for "Little Secrets." "Little Secrets" is on sale on video/DVD all over the country right now. I saw large crates of the DVD at Target, Sam's Club, and Walmart, and they're all gone now. So from my limited perspective it seems to be selling well. Thomas Baggaley actually liked "Little Secrets" better than he liked "The R.M." (he reviewed both for Meridian Magazine). But clearly both are among the 10 best movies released in theaters by Latter-day Saint filmmakers during the past 12 months.

BAGGALEY'S LITTLE SECRETS REVIEW - correspondent and film composer Thomas C. Baggaley has a new review in Meridian Magazine of Blair Treu's feature film "Little Secrets", now out on video/DVD. If you're looking for a movie to watch this weekend, you can't go wrong with "Little Secrets." Roger Ebert gave it 3 out of 4 stars. Check out Baggaley's review at:

NEW THIS WEEKEND: Critics eviscerated most of the new movies opening in theaters this weekend, including Ted Turner's tedious Civil War movie/southern slavery apologetic "Gods and Generals" ( 9% positive with 88 reviews counted) and "Jungle Book 2" (21% positive with 73 reviews counted). But "Dark Blue" did a little better with critics (51% positive with 95 reviews counted). The movie is NOT an LDS-made movie, of course, but it is interesting to note that it stars Kurt Russell, who got his start starring in Disney live-action movies such as "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes", "The Strongest Man in the World" and "The Barefoot Executive" (Russell co-stars with a chimpanzee). All of these were made by Mormons working at Disney (they were produced by Smithfield, Utah native Bill Anderson and scored by famed Latter-day Saint composer Robert F. Brunner).

BYU GRAD IN MIDDLE OF SHUTTLE CONTROVERSY - Latter-day Saint actor Aaron Eckhart, a graduate from the theater department at Brigham Young University and a frequent collaborator with fellow graduate, film director Neil LaBute, is the top-billed star of the upcoming big-budget, high-concept feature film "The Core." One of the opening scenes of the movie features the space shuttle crash landing in the middle of Los Angeles. In the wake of the recent space shuttle disaster, studio heads considered whether they should delay release of the planned tent-pole pic. But they decided to go ahead and release the movie on schedule. "The Core" was already delayed far past its earlier announced December 2002 release date so that additional special effects could be added to the movie. Paramount has also said they have no plans to change the film in light of recent events. Obviously any similarity is unfortunate and unintentional, as this movie was for the most part already complete long before the recent shuttle disaster. Also, the downing of the shuttle in "The Core" is a largely tangential element, and is not at the core of the film's plot, which is about Eckhart's journey to the center of the planet to set off an explosion which will re-start the Earth's core so that the planet will not be destroyed. Paramount did, however, pull movie trailers for "The Core," as the trailers feature the film's shuttle crash prominently, and the trailers would have been shown much sooner after the real shuttle crash. "The Core" is still scheduled for a March 28 nationwide release.

SUSPECT ZERO FUNDING - I found this tidbit from interesting, about a major source of funding for "Suspect Zero": Production on "Suspect Zero," which stars Latter-day Saint actor Aaron Eckhart ("Possession", "The Core", "Erin Brokovich") started on August 5th, 2002 in Albuquerque, New Mexico (and surrounding areas) and wrapped up in late September, 2002. The budget was $27 million, of which $7.5 million came from the state of New Mexico through an interest-free loan. In return, the state gets 2.5% of the box office, until it makes $90 million, at which point they get 3% of the gross (if it does).

DEBATE OVER BRIGHAM CITY - At the annual Association For Mormon Letters conference held at Thanksgiving Point over the weekend, renowned novelist Marilyn Brown (who is writing the novel based on "Brigham City") and UVSC philosophy professor Michael Minch faced off over "Brigham City." "Brigham City" is the most critically acclaimed movie in the LDS Cinema genre, and one of the most critically acclaimed independent films of 2001. Michael Minch, however, called it an immoral film, in the paper he delivered titled: "The Tragedy of Brigham City: How a Film About Morality Becomes Immoral." Reading the article reporting these events, I found Minch's points to be incomprehensible or idiotic. But this may be because I wasn't actually there and I am only reading a newspaper account. According to the article, one of Minch's major complaints was that "Brigham City" should have started where the movie actually ended. He said the movie should have started with Terry (the deputy) dead, and then explored how the town of Brigham treated Terry's widow." The Deseret News article can be read here:,1249,460030617,00.html

SHeDAISY / DUSHKU ON VIDEO - New on video/DVD this week is "City by the Sea," featuring Mormon actress Eliza Dushku in the 4th-billed role. The nation's "Top Rentals" list this week was topped by non-LDS movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." In the #2 spot was "Sweet Home Alabama," which features a song by Latter-day Saint singing group SHeDAISY, and a music video by the Utah country music sensation as well.

WILLIS IN "LIFE OF DAVID GALE" - Latter-day Saint actress Katherine Willis has a small part in "The Life of David Gale," which opened this weekend in the nation's #6 spot, grossing $7,117,225. She plays a death penalty protestor. Willis, who was born in Tonga where her father worked for CES, and served a full-time mission to Portugal, was previously seen as a police officer in the our-teachers-really-our-space-aliens movie "The Faculty" (1998). But for a major role, check her out as the lead actress in "Pure Race" (1995), directed by Latter-day Saint actor Rocco DeVilliers. When she was younger Willis had the 2nd billed in the TV movie "Little Heroes" (1992), directed by Craig Clyde (the screenwriter of Gary Rogers' upcoming Book of Mormon feature film). She is also the star of "The Right Girl," which has not been released yet. Willis is an attractive, distinctive, very talented actress -- great leading lady material.

Perhaps it is fortunate for Willis that her role isn't bigger, because "The Life of David Gale" is apparently a monstrously bad movie. It stars Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet, who are talented actors but are unable to save the movie from its script. The rating is currently only 19% positive reviews (with 103 reviews counted), with 89% of the "cream of the crop" reviewers (nation's top reviewers) denouncing it and giving it a negative review. The only "cream of the crop" reviewer whose review is classified as "positive" is Richard Roeper, who called the movie "a dazzling mess," but did give it a thumbs up. Basically the movie is being called by critics a piece of propaganda devoid of any real characters or a believable plot, but heavy on anti-death penalty statistics. Roger Ebert gave "The Life of David Gale" ZERO STARS. Ebert is a strongly opposed to the death penalty. In his weekly show and in his print column this week he spent a large amount of time denouncing the death penalty and denouncing Texas for the way it applies the death penalty. But he hated this anti-death penalty movie. Ebert said in his column: "this movie is about as corrupt, intellectually bankrupt and morally dishonest as it could possibly be without David Gale actually hiring himself out as a joker at the court of Saddam Hussein." Entertainment Weekly said: "Wherever you stand on the death penalty, there ought to be a law against a message movie this contrived." Slant Magazine said: "Alan Parker's turgid, bleeding-heart The Life of David Gale may just shame good liberals straight into the Republican Party."

TROY THROUGH A WINDOW SCREENING - A reminder about BYU film student Brad Barber's new documentary "Troy Through a Window," premiering on March 1st. There will be a special one-time screening of Brad Barber's documentary film "Troy Through a Window" at the Tower Theatre in Salt Lake City (876 East 900 South) on Saturday March 1, 2003 at 1pm. Admission is $5. (Admission may be paid using cash or check only.) A Question and Answer session will follow. More info at:

THURL - The Deseret News has an in-depth article about Latter-day Saint actor Thurl Bailey. See,1249,460030429,00.html?

Bailey is best known as a professional basketball player. The last team he played for was the Utah Jazz. A convert to the Church, Bailey has recently had something of a singing career, putting out a number of CDs sold in LDS bookstores. On screen Bailey was most recently seen in a cameo appearance in Kurt Hale's "The Singles Ward." Bailey also had a role in the Disney TV movie "The Luck of the Irish" (2001). He starred in the inspirational video "Thurl: Forward with New Power," directed by Eric Hendershot. Hendershot's latest releases are the feature-length family films "Message in a Cell Phone" and "Horse Crazy," both on sale in LDS bookstores and other locations on video and DVD. Bailey is one of the principle people behind the Salt Lake City-based production studio FourLeaf Films, which is in pre-production on an inspirational prison-based feature film titled "Ripple Effect," in which Bailey is slated to star.

FLYBOYS - Many people are interested in Latter-day Saint filmmaking prodigy Rocco DeVilliers' upcoming feature film "Flyboys." It should be noted that this is NOT a children's film. It's sort of a cross between "Stand By Me" and "North By Northwest". Although it is a coming of age/adventure story about two 12-year-olds, it's not a children's movie. It would probably be categorized as Adventure. The film stars Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan) Stephen Baldwin (The Usual Suspects) Jesse James (As Good As It Gets) Reiley McClendon (Pearl Harbor) and Harrison Young (Saving Private Ryan). If you have not seen Rocco DeVilliers' film "Only Once" (now available on a double-feature DVD along with "Christmas Mission," starring Corbin Allred), then you have missed one of the most artistically accomplished, inspiring independent Latter-day Saint-themed films ever made.

DeVilliers' "Pure Race" was made with a smaller budget and lacks the same degree of polish found in "Only Once," but it is exceptional film, with lots of action and nothing objectionable. "Pure Race" features Marvin Payne doing a great job as a neo-Nazi leader, and a man trying to be a good father. "Pure Race" stars none other than Utah-based African-American film director Gregory C. Haynes, the director of films such as "Cowboys and Angels" and "Heaven or Vegas" (1997). ("Heaven or Vegas" stars Yasmine Bleeth and Sarah Schaub in a story about a Latter-day Saint family.) The lead actress in DeVilliers' "Pure Race" is Latter-day Saint actress Katherine Willis, who has a small role in "The Life of David Gale," which opened over the weekend. No release date has yet been set for "Fly Boys," but the filmmakers are planning a theatrical release.

IN THE SERVICE OF GOD - John Lyde's new Latter-day Saint-themed direct-to-video/DVD release, "In the Service of God" will be in stores in about a week. The film is about "love, adventure and home teaching." The cast and crew is largely the same that was used by Lyde in making his first commercial release a year ago, "The Field is White." An interview with John Lyde about this latest video release can be found at:

JOSEPH SMITH CAST FOR BOOK OF MORMON FILM - In a surprise move, Gary Rogers has cast none other than Dustin Harding in the role of the young Joseph Smith Jr. in his upcoming Book of Mormon feature film. Harding previously played Joseph Smith in the new "First Vision" film which premiered this year at the Church's visitor's centers in Palmyra and another Church history location. Harding also had a major role as "Michael" in the video "Star Child," the musical sequel to Doug Stewart's "Saturday's Warrior." Harding was recently seen on the big screen in Blair Treu's feature film "Little Secrets" (distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Co., now on video/DVD from Columbia Tristar). In "Little Secrets," Harding played "Jordan," who is the boy that shows up at the door and Caitlin Meyer's character Isabelle tells him that her older sister (who he is expecting to be visiting) has died. (No, she hadn't really died. She was just away at camp. You'll have to see the film. It's a very funny moment.)

SNELL SHOW IN ASPEN COLORADO - The "Snell Show" is featured in this years' U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, taking place in Aspen, Colorado. "The Snell Show" is part of the Film Discovery 2003 Program and will play on Thurs. Feb. 27 at 12 p.m., and Sat. Mar. 1 at 10 a.m. Both screenings are at the Isis Theatre (406 E. Hopkins, Aspen, CO). For more information visit:

"The Snell Show" won the Grand Jury Prize for the Best Short film at this year's Slamdance Film Festival. The short film was also recently given an Honorable Mention in the Film category of the Association for Mormon Letters Awards. "The Snell Show," made by Scottish Latter-day Saint BYU film student Andrew Black, is largely thought to have won the top award at Slamdance not only because it is a perfectly executed and beautifully realized film, but also because of the unearthly way in which it perfectly captures the tenor of the times. "The Snell Show" is a timeless tale set in a wholely alternate reality, yet it somehow is THE FILM which comments on current U.S. preparations for war in Iraq and the country's fight against terrorism at home and abroad.

SAINTS OF WAR WRAPS - According to a new update on the official Saints of War website, principal photography on the movie wrapped on February 19, 2003. "The Saints of War," inspired by the non-fiction book "Saints at War" (and a DVD/video documentary by the same title), is directed by controversial Canadian Latter-day Saint filmmaker Ryan Little, the director of "Out of Step." Little's previous short war film "The Last Good War" (available on the "Treasured Stories of the Golden Rule" videotape), won numerous wards in Utah and around the nation. Many critics regard Little's feature debut "Out of Step" as the best entry in the LDS Cinema genre, aside from those directed by Dutcher.

ANDERSEN PD FOR A PIONEER MIRACLE - We have learned that the production designer for the upcoming T.C. Christensen film "A Pioneer Miracle" is none other than Darin Andersen. Andersen, of course, was the production designer for the feature film "Handcart" and the feature-length video release "Y2K", both directed by Kels Goodman. "A Pioneer Miracle," which has been completed and is slated for a June 1st release on video and DVD, stars Caitlin E.J. Meyer ("Little Secrets").

LOVE LOGS ON UPDATE - Tucker Dansie, the movie's director has asked us to forward the following: "Love Logs On" is in it's final stages of assembling it's crew, and while the crew is coming together nicely, there are still a few positions open. We are still looking for another camera assistant and camera operator. And still desperately looking for 2 sound operators. Anyone with interest is welcome to apply, no experience necessary, but is helpful, except for camera operator. Sound operator is an easy job that can be learned quickly, looking for enthusiastic people. This is a non-union/non-paying job. Also, seeking production assistants.

WAR IN HEAVEN INFO - Wolf Productions Presents: War In Heaven

1) Short Film
2) Shot On Digital
3) Non-Union Organization
4) Needing 300-400 Extras. I need Caucasian men and women for the film.
5) Non-paid (Volunteer)
6) Requirement for Extras are: all white clothing and Black clothing. No logos. No shoes. Extras will play spirits as part of the hosts of heaven.
7) Shoot date will be on July 12th, 2003 from 6:30 AM-6:00PM. Location, details later.
8) Please bring own food, sunscreen, and other forms of clothing for all types of weather.
9) Contracts will be sent out via e-mail in June when you contact director by e-mail.
10) No acting required. You will learn how to act when you join this production!
11) Production is good for resume builders, people learning acting/production, and others to just have fun!

Main Cast Parts available:
Jesus Christ: Male ages 25-35. Must be around 6'.
Heavenly Father: Male ages 35-40. Must be around 6'.
Eve: Female ages 20-30. Must be 5'5 or more.
ArchAngels: 4 Male roles left. Muscular built ages 20-30.

Main Cast members will be required to be fitted. Small fee for their fabric. Discount available. If you want a main role out of these choices, you must be in the general area for cast rehearsals. Contracts will be issued sooner than June. Auditions will be held either March 22nd or April 5th... more details later.

If interested, please e-mail the Director Stephen Groo at:

OPEN AUDITIONS - Casting call for "The Collectors." Open additions to be held March 1st from 12:00pm to 6:00pm in the American Fork Library Community Room (131), 64 South 100 East, American Fork, Utah. (It is right off Main St. at 100 East by the American Fork Tabernacle). AVAILABLE PARTS include lead roles and many smaller roles for people with martial arts experience, as well as smaller roles for people without martial arts experience. More details are on the audition page and JKL Entertainment's official "The Collector's" webpage. Filming will take place from March 15th to March 29th. Most parts will only be needed for one day.

TM ACCESS LISTINGS - Some of these apply only to BYU students. Most are not limited.

Seasoned Actors with professional experience: Desert Media Productions is producing a new film based on the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Auditions for lead roles will take place throughout March and April. If you are a serious actor and would like more information about these high-demand roles, please see Elizabeth in D-581. Resume and headshots must be sent to the Church office building by March 3.

Congratulations to those who participated in ACTF! Four of our students, Clay Bunker, Janel Crane, Carmeron Hopkin, and Laura Reyna were semi-finalists in the Irene Ryan Competition. Cory Loritzen, Lara Beene, Curt Jensen received Design Awards, and Julia Palmer was the Outstanding Stage Manager. Recognition was also given to the cast of "Magnificence/Everyman," and "Ladyhouse Blues" is under consideration for performance at the Kennedy Center. Lara Reyna was recognized as the Best Actress at the festival plays.

Production Assistants needed at the Waterford Institute in Sandy, Utah, to help with video production over the next two months. For information, contact Kelly Fisher at 801-576-4981 or e-mail

2003 Pearl Awards is accepting applications for interns in Camera/Video, Audio, Lighting, Set/Production Design, Production, and Post-production. Find out more info from Elizabeth in D-581.

Internship Opportunity working with Owen Rich, founder of KBYU Radio, on a possible documentary for the new Joseph F. Smith Museum Contact Carolyn at

Griffin Hill, a management consulting firm, is looking for a qualified individual for a short term project. Need someone familiar with Premier software and editing procedures to transfer material from VHS to video CD with possible additional short-term projects. Pay to be determined by qualifications. Contact Christy Blake at 225-7000 or

Independent film audition. A Utah independent movie production is seeking on-screen talent for an upcoming action/comedy flick. Currently seeking lead and supporting roles. For more info and to register for audition, visit [Film: Ecto. Non-pay.]

Gloria International Film Festival is looking for quality films and screenplays for the 2003 Film Festival in Salt Lake City. For entry forms and info visit