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

Weekend of May 16, 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
---  ----------------------------- -----------  -----  ----
23   Piglet's Big Movie                160,251    373    59
     Ken Sansom (3rd-billed actor)  22,822,301

25   The Shape of Things               135,004     60    10
     Neil LaBute                       384,365

64   Final Destination 2                27,585     42   108
     A.J. Cook (2nd-billed actor)   46,896,664

70   The Core                           21,407     94    52
     Aaron Eckhart (lead actor)     30,625,303

73   Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure   19,459      9   829
     Scott Swofford (producer)      14,603,104
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)
     Sam Cardon (composer)
     Stephen L. Johnson (editor)

81   The Cremaster Cycle                14,509      2    24
     Mathew Barney                      59,162

95   Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man    6,912      3  1109
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   15,223,374

127  China: The Panda Adventure          1,189      2   661
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    3,046,462

JUNE 3RD RELEASES - "A Pioneer Miracle" is expected to hit store shelves on video and DVD June 3rd, 2003 with a suggested retail price of $11.95. This short LDS-themed film from director/cinematographer T.C. Christensen stars Caitlin E.J. Meyer. Production designer: Darin Andersen ("Handcart", "Y2K"). Thomson Productions is the distributor.

T.C. Christensen's films have been among Thomson's best selling titles. Other films distributed by Thomson and directed by Christensen include "Mouth of Babes", "The Touch of the Master's Hand" and "Bug Off!" Christensen is currently in pre-production stages on the feature film adaptation of "Saturday's Warrior," which he will co-direct with Elizabeth Hansen and also serve as Director of Photography. We were invited to a screening of "A Pioneer Miracle" but were unable to attend. However, having seen many Christensen films we are certain that this will be a high-quality production which will look fantastic.

Christian Vuissa's award-winning LDS-themed short film "Roots & Wings", which for months now has only been available on video from BYU and from LDS Video Store, will also be available for the first time ever on DVD on June 3rd. Thomson is the new distributor of "Roots & Wings" on video and DVD. The director has said that the DVD will have a director's commentary track. "Roots & Wings" received the AML (Association for Mormon Letters) Award for Film last year as the best Latter-day Saint film of the year. In receiving this award, "Roots & Wings" was specifically chosen over films such as "Out of Step" (named by AML as a runner-up), "The Snell Show" (the short film which won the highest award at this year's Slamdance Film Festival, also named as an AML Award runner-up this year), "Jack Weyland's Charly" (which received an AML award for screenplay adaptation), and two theatrical releases not cited by AML: "The Singles Ward," and "Handcart."

The theatrically released feature film "Handcart" will also hit shelves June 3rd, with a special edition double-disc DVD, a video (also featuring the new special edition re-edited and enhanced version of the film). The soundtrack CD is also being released that day. Work on the Handcart DVD and video release by the folks at Shinebox has pushed back the DVD release of their science fiction feature-length film "Missy." But once "Handcart" is released, they will finish preparing "Missy" for its long-anticipated DVD release. "Missy" and "Handcart" both star Jaelan Petrie.

Petrie is also one of the stars of the upcoming Bill Shira feature film "Where Rivers Meet." Petrie, a blend of the best aspects of Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, and Vin Diesel also stars in Shinebox's short film "Sea Angel" (now in post-production), and he has a brief role as a bigoted anti-Mormon mugger in John Lyde's popular direct-to-video film "The Field is White."

* * *

DE AZEVEDO AND SATURDAY'S WARRIOR - We have confirmed that Lex de Azevedo is slated to be the composer for the upcoming "Saturday's Warrior" feature film. De Azevedo is the original composer of the music that combined with Doug Stewart's writing and lyrics to create the "Saturday's Warrior" stage musical.

de Azevedo's only real previous theatrical releases are "The Swan Princess" (1994) and "Swan Princess 2". He also scored the feature-length family films "Baker's Hawk" (1976), "Against a Crooked Sky" (1975) and "Where the Red Fern Grows" (1974), some of which may have had very minor theatrical releases. "Baker's Hawk", at least, was shown some in theaters. Most of de Azevedo's film scoring work has been for videos, including tons of Living Scriptures videos, "In Search of Ancient Cumorah", "My Turn on Earth" with Carol Lynn Pearson, "A Time to Love" with Carol Lynn Pearson, the Church film "The Lost Manuscript", and "Gloria: The Life of Christ" (executive produced by Sheri Dew).

HAIRY TALE DIRECT TO VIDEO - It had been expected that "Hairy Tale" starring Roma Downey (star of the recently ended Utah-filmed "Touched by an Angel" TV series) and non-churchgoing Latter-day Saint actor Matthew Modine was going to be released this past weekend. However, Warner Bros. has removed this movie from their theatrical schedule altogether. Expect it to premiere on cable or video sometime later this year or maybe in 2004.

ON LABUTE - Articles about BYU graduate Neil LaBute appeared in both the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune this week Excerpt from the Salt Lake Tribune article:
[QUOTE] What LaBute will not be writing soon will be stories with overtly Mormon characters. After his 1999 trilogy of one-act monologues, "Bash: Latter-day Plays," LaBute -- who converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during his days at BYU -- was disfellowshipped by his local ecclesiastical leaders. LaBute is working to restore his status as a participating church member, in part by avoiding writing about LDS characters. "Beyond that, I'm just trying to be a guy who thinks through everything that comes out of his pen, rather than just letting it flow," LaBute said. His disfellowship "is not a final state. You have to either move forward or backward. I hopefully am moving in a positive direction." When asked if he considers himself a good Mormon, LaBute said, "I do, but one can always be better. In my case, I could probably be a lot better. I'm a couple rungs down, but I've still got some climbing strength in me." [END QUOTE]

Scores from Reviews Nationwide given to Neil LaBute's "The Shape of Things": Numerical average of these graded scores: 70.2 (out of 100). freshness score: 66.3%, 83 reviews counted: 55 positive; 28 negative.

RUNELORDS STILL MOVING FORWARD - These things take time, so be patient, but as anticipated, Runelords seems to be moving ever so slowly closer to the big screen. The Runelords series is written by active Latter-day Saint writer Dave Wolverton, under name "Dave Farland." Wolverton, a convert to the Church, lives in Utah County with his family. He is probably the best-selling LDS science fiction author writing today, aside from Card and Hickman. From
[QUOTE] Runelords Film Optioned - Story Island Entertainment, Origin Entertainment and Entertainment Business Group have acquired the feature-film and game rights to the best-selling fantasy novel series The Runelords by David Wolverton, writing as David Farland, Variety reported. Terry Kahn will write the film script; the film will be produced by Wolverton, David McBrayer and Richard Shaw at Origin and EBG's Rob Holt and John J. Lee Jr., the trade paper reported. The first Runelords novel was published in 1997, followed by Brotherhood of the Wolf and Wizardborn. This fall the fourth installment in the series, Lair of Bones, will be released by Tor, a division of St. Martin's Press, the trade paper reported. The film is being readied for a fall 2004 theatrical release, with the first role-playing video game intended to hit retail shelves in time for the 2004 holiday season, the trade paper reported. [END QUOTE]

In other Latter-day Saint-related science fiction/fantasy news, reported: "Ashton Kutcher's agent told IGN FilmForce that rumors about his starring in a Knight Rider movie are only that. 'It's a possibility, but that's all,' the agent said. 'He hasn't even seen a script.'" [The popular syndicated "Knight Rider" TV series was created by legendary Latter-day Saint television writer/producer Glen A. Larson.

Here's the fun question to ponder: Which leading LDS science fiction writer will win the race to have one of his works adapted to the big screen?

Of course, Card's "Ender's Game" is supposed to be with a studio... A ton of Card's other works are optioned... Hickman was one of the primary creators of "Dungeons & Dragons," which was made into a movie, but that movie wasn't a direct adaptation of one of his books or stories.

I think it's impossible to guess who will have something in theaters next.

Of course, all of these guys are latecomers compared to LDS science fiction writers of previous generations. The late Raymond F. Jones was as popular and important as Orson Scott Card in his day, and his book "This Island Earth" was adapted into the same-titled 1955 movie which was the "Star Wars" of its decade.

A short story by LDS author Samuel W. Taylor was the basis for Disney's huge hit "The Absent Minded Professor" (1961), its sequel "Son of Flubber" (1963) and the 1997 Robin Williams movie "Flubber" (1997), as well as a 1988 TV movie.

There have also been some small screen adaptations of LDS s.f. authors' writing.

Zenna Henderson's "People" stories were adapted into a not-so-great 1972 TV movie starring William Shatner. It's almost certain that they'll see a quality big-screen adaptation some day (aside from the Disney "Witch Mountain" movies which many people think ripped off Henderson's stories).

James C. Christensen's book _Voyage of the Basset_ was adapted as the TV miniseries "Voyage of the Unicorn" (2001), which is really quite good and under-appreciated.

And we're not even counting Latter-day Saint screenwriters who have written screenplays made directly into science fiction feature films, TV movies and TV series. These include: Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul, David Howard, Brian Nissen, Glen A. Larson, Ernie Wallengren, Bruce Neibaur, Boyd Kirkland, Chris Conkling, Leo D. Paur and Glenn L. Anderson.

SPEAKING OF LDS SCI-FI - The official website for the upcoming Battlestar Galactica miniseries is at: The miniseries will premiere on the Sci-Fi Channel in December 2003. The site includes info about the release of the video games, the brand new DVD of the movie and the TV series, and the new miniseries.

Battlestar Galactica was created by Latter-day Saint TV producer and writer Glen A. Larson, and featured many motifs and themes drawn directly from LDS doctrine, practice and history. Larson does not appear to be involved in the creation of the miniseries, which was written by Ronald D. Moore of "Star Trek" fame and directed by Michael Rymer (director of the 2003 Anne Rice adaptation "Queen of the Damned").

CONTROVERSIAL LDS WRITER PLOTS TO DESTROY MANKIND - Many newspapers ran this story. One source is here:

Sci-Fi Legend Card Lends Words to New Video Game
Sun May 18, 2003 02:03 PM ET
By Ben Berkowitz

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Science fiction novelist Orson Scott Card sees the future -- create a story that will beget a video game that, in turn, gives birth to both a book and a movie. Then go to the bank. In collaboration with privately held game developer Majesco Sales, Card is writing the dialogue and helping to cast voice actors for a new video game called "Advent Rising," in which an alien species tries to destroy mankind before it can unite the universe. Card, a tall man with a dry wit and a very public sense of spirituality, has written numerous novels contemplating alternate histories and the salvation of mankind. He says the new project is in many ways no different. But he is doing more than just writing the game -- when it is done, he told Reuters he plans to write a book based on the game's story, the first in a planned trilogy. And there is more to come. "We have dreams of making it work as a movie," he said in an interview at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the games industry trade show that ended on Friday. The game is intended to focus heavily on the idea of humans and their moral and personal power. "We're going a long way past the 'shoot-everything-that-moves' kind of games," Card said. "There are choices, really brutally hard choices, you make that affect game play from a moral standpoint," he said. Card was the first author to win the science fiction Hugo and Nebula prizes for best novel two years in a row. But rather than galactic flights of fancy, his books, like "Ender's Game" and "Seventh Son," all have a more serious side to them, a sense that he intends to bring to the video game world. FULL ARSENAL The new game, set for release in the spring of 2004, starts the player out with a full arsenal of weapons, rather than the traditional model of starting with nothing. "You become the weapon," said Donald Mustard, the designer on the PC and Xbox game for developer GlyphX. "You feel like the power is in you and the tools you get," Card added. Card, who at one time served as a Mormon missionary in Brazil, co-wrote the musical "Barefoot to Zion," which was part of the Mormon Church's celebration of the 150th anniversary of its settlers' arrival in Utah with his brother, Arlen Card. He also writes a Web log called The Ornery American ( But for the moment he is occupied with the game, which he and Majesco plan to make the foundation for a movie. Card is directly involved in casting the actors who will provide the voices for the title. "I'll be there to rewrite around actors," he said. The author, who has worked with game companies like Lucas Arts in past and whose son is a game developer, said that beside writing has always been interested in both games and other performance arts like stage directing. "I sort of kept my hand in here and there," he said. "For me the novels are a sideline."

MOYER SPEAKS OUT - John E. Moyer, the screenwriter of "The Singles Ward" and "The R.M." weighs in on the state of LDS Cinema on his personal web site. These are provocative articles, and we suggest that most people should NOT read it. No offensive language or anything, but his ideas are NOT what you usually hear from filmmakers and writers. And he talks numbers. And he names names. (Actually, what we really mean is that you should read these articles - RIGHT NOW! - that is, unless you are faint of heart or worried he might be writing about you.) Nuts and bolts ideas about LDS Cinema financing, production and distribution.

AUDITION NEWS FROM AND ACTION! ACTORS STUDIO - Tiffany Goodenough with CustoMovie is casting a short film in SLC, UT. [Forwarded from Michelle K. Wright, And Action! Actor's Studio]

Auditions for our movie titled "13:59" We will be filming June and July. Each scene will have a different cast and will take about one day each. Non-paying, we will feed our cast on the day we shoot.

Auditions will be Tues. May 20th at Murray Park, SLC, UT - Pavilion #1. Auditions will be from noon to 4:00 pm. Scripts will be at the audition. Contact us at to let us know if you can make it. The movie is a short, about 20 minutes long. It will be sent to as many film festivals as we can afford to, starting with Sundance. Credits will be given to anyone who is willing to help out, and if by some chance the movie makes money, everyone will be paid. PG 13 Rating. Language, Brief, mild adult content. Synopsis: Every country panicked during WW3. Every bomb on the planet is set off and they are all in the air. The earth will be totally annihilated within 13 hours and 59 minutes. We are showing what people around the world are doing on their last day of life. What would you do in your last 14 hours of life?

Men and women 18- 40s
Man, Woman 65+
Woman-early 20s, beautiful, must know how to dance
Woman petite
3 teenage boys
woman early 30s athletic
woman 50-60 years old
4 men 20s athletic
2 children brown hair (male or female)
5 kids any age
heavy set man
Chinese women
Women and men who can speak with an English accent
Men who can speak with and Australian accent
Men and women with mid-eastern look (pass for Afghanistan)

We could also use an extra hand for crew who has worked on lighting and production design and has an open schedule

Tiffany Goodenough
CustoMovie productions

DAY OF DEFENSE SINGER AUDITIONS - VOCAL AUDITIONS will be held Thursday, 6-9 p.m., at Spirit West Studios, 2525 S. State, for one of the theme songs for the soundtrack of a new film, "Day of Defense." Experienced male and female vocalists, 18 or over, are invited to audition. Come prepared with a one-minute solo. Bring a minus track CD or tape. There will also be a piano at the studio but not an accompanist. You may also sing a capella. Any style can be used for the audition, but the producers are looking specifically for pop/rock music. Audition times will be based on the order of arrival. Those arriving before 6 or after 9 will not be seen. This is a paid job and requires the signing of a contract, if selected. Those who already have a label or an agent may have to obtain a waiver. You must be willing to sign a waiver at the audition to allow filming of the audition piece. For further information, contact Saline Hunsaker by e-mail only at

FILM ACTING CLASS FOR KIDS - Rob Diamond and The Actor's Lounge is proud to announce "Lounge Kids"; the first and only film acting class for kids taught by Heather Whelan. We cover Auditioning, Cold Reading, Scene Study, Business Basic and Self Esteem. Classes are Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:30 at the Redman Movies and Stories Building at 1240 E 2100 S in Sugarhouse on the Fifth floor. (Private lessons are also available.) As always, The Actor's Lounge studies every Thursday and Saturday for adults of every level. Come see why The Lounge produces some of the best talent in Salt Lake City. Call Heather Whelan at 801-550-0149 to reserve your spot.

Liken The Scriptures is a series of Movie-Musicals centered around the Book of Mormon. 6-year-old Spencer Anderson has a hard time paying attention in Primary. Fortunately, his Primary teacher, Sister Larsen, knows just what Spencer needs in order to make the scripture stories exciting, and all it takes is a little imagination. But not even Sister Larsen can predict the amazing outcome of Spencer's imagination. Join Spencer in his imagination, where Book of Mormon stories not only come to life, but turn into full musical productions! Discover wholesome musical entertainment ideal for your family's library, which just happens to be centered on scripture stories! The humor and content are appropriate and exciting for all ages -- even the grown-ups! Soon, your entire family will be "Liken the Scriptures!" In Episode 1: Nephi And The Brass Plates, we meet Nephi -- young, strong, handsome, and very optimistic (too much so, according to certain brothers). Though he and his brothers have different attitudes about the challenge of getting the brass plates from Laban, they make the journey, only to discover that the very eccentric Laban does NOT want to give up any of his precious riches. Songs include Nephi's upbeat "Life Could Not Be Better," and a stirring duet between Nephi and Sariah entitled "Thy Arms Around Me."