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

Weekend of May 30, 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
---  ----------------------------- -----------  -----  ----
 6   Wrong Turn (NEW)                5,161,498  1,615     3
     Eliza Dushku (top billed actor) 5,161,498

36   The Shape of Things                52,707     51    24
     Neil LaBute                       662,763

40   The Cremaster Cycle                45,178      7    38
     Mathew Barney                     201,251

56   Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure   18,051      9   843
     Scott Swofford (producer)      14,678,633
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)
     Sam Cardon (composer)
     Stephen L. Johnson (editor)

66   The Core                            9,390     27    66
     Aaron Eckhart (lead actor)     30,664,058

72   Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man    7,304      2  1123
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   15,257,279

84   China: The Panda Adventure          5,373      3   675
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    3,119,306

96   Galapagos                           2,669      2  1312
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   14,037,396

2 FAST 2 FURIOUS - A guaranteed blockbuster, "2 Fast 2 Furious", the sequel to the surprise hit "The Fast and the Furious" which (once again) stars Latter-day Saint actor Paul Walker, is set to be released this coming weekend. But can it knock of this weekend's record-setting king, Disney's "Finding Nemo?"

SPEAKING OF FINDING NEMO - Pixar has done it once again. "Finding Nemo" set a record as the fastest-starting animated feature of all time, bringing in a whopping $70 million over the weekend. Critics have also loved the film. Its "freshness" rating is an amazing 99%, with 126 out of 127 counted reviews coming in on the positive side - and the one "negative" review basically said it was a good film, just not (in his opinion) a great film. Pixar's co-founder and president i University of Utah graduate Edwin Catmull, a Latter-day Saint from Utah. Catmull did not receive a credit for "Finding Nemo", but in the past he has received executive producer credits for "Toy Story" and "Geri's Game", and even if he wasn't specifically involved in the production of "Finding Nemo", you've got to give him a little bit of credit for starting the company with Apple Computer pioneer Steve Jobs in the first place. Catmull has received 3 Academy Awards for developments in CGI (computer graphics). He and Jobs developed the "RenderMan" software used in movies such as "Toy Story", "A Bug's Life" and "Monsters, Inc." He also received a credit as a computer graphics specialist for "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" (1982). For "Star Trek II" Catmull created the groundbreaking and memorable visual image of the Genesis Planet being formed.


MORE ON 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS, FILM TO OPEN ON 10,000 SCREENS WORLDWIDE - [QUOTE] The Galgary Sun talked with 2 Fast 2 Furious star Paul Walker who said he won't be doing the Superman movie but would be up for a second sequel of his current franchise. "I already have my franchise movie with The Fast and the Furious. It's wonderful the way fans react. Everywhere I go around the world, people want to shake my hand or pat me on the back. They quote my lines from the movie. That feels so good. "That's why I did 2 Fast 2 Furious and why I'd do a third if the fans want it, but I wasn't ready to commit to Superman in the same way. I know if somebody had offered me Superman before I did The Fast and the Furious, I wouldn't have thought twice." Walker, 29, still finds it difficult to believe 2 Fast 2 Furious will be opening on 10,000 screens around the world on June 6. "They're dubbing me into about 30 languages. It's so exhilarating." [QUOTE]

ADD DUSHKU - The "other" major film opening this weekend was the slasher flick "Wrong Turn," starring Mormon actress Eliza Dushku in the top billed role. It opened in the #6 spot, grossing over $5 million in its first weekend.

* * *

DUSHKU AND WALKER NECK-AND-NECK FOR THE TOP SPOT - Before "Wrong Turn," Dushku's total (U.S. box office total gross for feature films in which she received marquee/poster billing) was $318 million. Nearly half of that total comes from 1994's "True Lies" ($146 mil.) in which she received 7th billing. Her second biggest movie was much more of a Dushku film: the cheerleading movie "Bring It On," in which she received 2nd billing after Kirsten Dunst, grossed over $68 million domestically. "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back", "The New Guy", "City by the Sea", "Bye Bye, Love", "Soul Survivors" and "Race the Sun" account for the rest of her career total. "Wrong Turn" is the FIRST feature film in which Dushku has received top billing.

"Wrong Turn" is just getting started. Despite being a poorly made film without any redeeming qualities, it could easily rake in another $5 to $10 million at the box office before running out of steam. Now with a career total of $318 million, Dushku is just $4 million shy of passing up Paul Walker on the Box Office Total for Latter-day Saint Actors chart. Walker's movies (The Fast and the Furious; She's All That; Varsity Blues; The Skulls; Joy Ride; Meet the Deedles) have grossed more than $322 million at the U.S. box office.

Walker received top billing in only one of his movies - "The Fast and the Furious" - but this is also his top-grossing movie. Walker has also generally had bigger roles and higher billing than Dushku in his movies. So when his box office gross figures are divided by billing position, his ADJUSTED total is $208.7 million, while Dushku's adjusted total is just $83.1 million. There is no way that Dushku will surpass Walker on the adjusted chart in the forseeable future.

Will more box office dollars from "Wrong Turn" put Duskhu into the top spot on the unadjusted chart? It might have done so temporarily, if it has opened a week earlier. But this weekend, as mentioned before, "2 Fast 2 Furious" -- starring Paul Walker in the lead role -- opens. The sequel to the 2001 surprise racing hit, which grossed over $144 million in the U.S. -- will easily run down Dushku's "Wrong Turn," leaving the actress in the proverbial dust of an Appalachian dirt road. Walker also stars in Michael Crichton's big budget "Timeline," due out in November, and his reign at the top seems safe... at least for a few months. Pulling up fast behind him is BYU graduate Aaron Eckhart, whose career total $295 million will soon be enhanced by starring roles in the John Woo/Ben Affleck/Philip K. Dick s.f. thriller "Paycheck" and the non-s.f. thriller "Suspect Zero," co-starring Oscar winner Ben Kingsley and Carrie-Anne Moss from "The Matrix" trilogy. Dushku, on the other hand, won't even be competing on the same playing field with these guys. She'll be starring not in movies, but in the TV series "Tru Calling," which sounds like it may be cool, but it doesn't register on the box office chart.

* * *

SUMMER'S HERE: THEATERS HELD HOSTAGE - And that means LDS-themed films find venues slim pickings as major Hollywood blockbusters hog the screens. Obviously, all the theaters want to get in on the summer's big hits and are thus held hostage by the studios, but still, doesn't it seem a little ironic to anyone that in our free enterprise system during the summer when more people have time to go to the theaters there are actually fewer choices of movies to watch on a given weekend?

SO WHAT ABOUT "THE R.M.?" - "The R.M." - the only LDS-themed theatrical release of the spring - has apparently run out of time. For three weeks straight it has not appeared in any of the box office reports, and although it may be a little premature to say that its theatrical run is done, the HaleStorm production is going to find it difficult going during the summer months. And with the DVD/video release scheduled for September, we probably have a good idea where it will finish up. So let's take a quick look at the numbers. At last report, "The R.M." had grossed $943,277, good enough to put it fourth among LDS-themed theatrical-release features. However, "The Singles Ward", the previous HaleStorm production which also happens to sit in the #3 spot, grossed $1,250,798 in the theaters, and at this time it seems unlikely that "The R.M." will be able to surpass that total.

HANDCART VIDEO/DVD RELEASE MOVED BACK TO JUNE 10 - Handcart coming to VHS and DVD on June 10! "Handart" Special Edition will be available on June 10 at Deseret Book, Media Play and other stores. The Special Edition is a 2 disk set including 100 new changes to the original film, a director's commentary, a half-hour documentary on the making of the film, previews, outtakes, deleted scenes and poster art. Look for an autograph signing by director Kels Goodman at the Media Play in Orem on June 10, 6-8pm.

LDS TV WRITER/WRITER OF MR. KREUGER'S CHRISTMAS DIES - Ernie Wallengren (Ernest Ferrin Wallengren) -- the writer of "Mr. Kreuger's Christmas" and the writer/producer of popular TV series such as "The Waltons", "Eight is Enough", "Knight Rider," etc. -- passed away from Lou Gehrig's disease last Tuesday. See the Salt Lake Tribune article at

NEW WADSWORTH NOVEL RELEASED - The time has come! Amy Maida Wadsworth's book, "Shadow of Doubt," is now on the shelves. It will be available at Seagull Books and Deseret Books, and I believe anywhere LDS books are sold. We have read pre-publication versions of the book and fully recommend it as a page-turner - not to mention a potential hit LDS Cinema film.

Several book signings are scheduled at Seagull bookstores throughout the month of June

** Saturday, June 7 **

11-1 pm
Seagull Book
1720 So. Redwood Road

1:30-3:30 pm
Seagull Book
40 West 500 South

** Saturday, June 14 **

11:30-1:30 pm
Seagull Book
331 E. University Parkway

2-4 pm
Seagull Book
111 South State

** Saturday, June 21 **

11-1 pm
Seagull Book
242 East 6400 South

1:30-3:30 pm
Seagull Book
5720 South Redwood Road

** Saturday, June 28 **

11:30-1:30 pm
Seagull Book
2250 North University

2-4 pm
Seagull Book
177 East 30 North
American Fork

** Saturday, July 12 **

2-4 pm
Seagull Book
448 West Antelope Drive

LDS SINGER/ACTRESS LISA HOPKINS TO RECEIVE A TONY - Lisa Hopkins, a Yale acting student, is receiving a Tony Award on June 8. She is one of the Mimis in Baz Luhrman's "La Boheme" on Broadway. All ten principal singers in the cast are receiving special Tony's (already announced). Hopkins is an active Latter-day Saint and a returned missionary.

FIVE UTAH AND/OR LDS ACTORS IN NATIONAL TOUR OF LES MIZ - See the article at,1249,505036841,00.html

SAINTS OF WAR FOOTAGE ONLINE - You can see a bunch of scenes from "Saints of War", on-set footage, un-finished scenes, and interveiws at

BEST TWO YEARS DETAILS - Carol Mikita presented a story for KSL News (Channel 5) about the making of "The Best Two Years of My Life," the upcoming feature film adaptation of Scott Anderson's popular stage play about 4 missionaries in Denmark. Scott Anderson (Writer/Director/Producer), Kirby Heyborne (star) and Michael Flynn (Producer) were interviewed for the piece. Flynn said the movie will premiere in Utah this September. A transcript from the story, "New Film Targets LDS Audience," can be found here:

PAID CREW NEEDED FOR FEATURE FILM SHOOTING IN THE PROVO/OREM AREA - From Michelle Wright and Action! Acting: 1 June 2003: Pink Pirana Productions is looking for experienced crew to work on a feature film, which will begin shooting this September. The title of the film is "The Perfect Dad." The approximate length of shooting will be 4 weeks. The location of the project will be in the Provo/Orem area with locations in the Provo Canyon. Paid positions. Please send all Resumes to Keith at:

AUDITIONS FOR NEW DANNO NELL FILM SHOOTING IN UTAH - Nell, who has previously filmed an unfinished movie based on the stripling warriors/sons of Heleman from the Book of Mormon, is making a new film, and has announced open auditions.

[QUOTE] Audition Announcement: Open Casting Call. DBD Productions is holding an open casting call for a series pilot. Sat. June 7th from 2-6:00PM at the Salt Lake City Library Main (Block of 209 E 500 South). In the new building, bottom floor conference room. Positions are not paid. Great opportunity for new talent to show what they can do with a chance that these rolls might turn into a weekly television show. Good resume builder. Please bring a headshot and resume if available. If not, one will be taken at the audition. Pilot will be filming from June 21st to June 28th. All characters will not be required for every day, but those auditioning must be available within that time span. [END QUOTE]

See the Auditions page on this website or the official website for DBD Productions for details about the types of parts available.


[Typical music budget on an LDS Cinema theatrical release - Amount withheld] is not a huge amount for music or even for music for a "low-budget" film. From this total, the composer has to pay any musicians he hires, pay for any studio time he uses, pay a recording engineer if he has one, pay any other expenses incurred like buying samples for any synth sounds he doesn't yet own that are to be used on the film, and yet somehow keep enough of it himself to support his family for the month or month and a half he is working on the film full-time plus however long it is until he gets his next paying job. It doesn't stretch very far.

The recording sessions alone (including paying musicians) for an orchestral score recorded in Salt Lake City - one of the least expensive places in the U.S. to record film music - typically cost around [large amount - withheld]. You've got to figure that both [two LDS Cinema features which have already been released in theaters and had quality orchestral scores] had a music budget at least half of that [still large amount - withheld], even though they recorded in [place withheld].

But it's worth it! Good quality music will improve the perceived quality of the overall film, while poor quality music hurts the film as much as any element of the film. It's not that audiences consciously think about the music. It's more of a subconscious reaction. Too bad so many filmmakers don't realize that. The established filmmakers usually do realize this however. It's the beginning guys - the ones trying to get their film made at all - that hurt themselves because music is one of the first places they usually cut when they have to make cuts, and yet it's one of the areas that can have the greatest impact on an audience's perception of the quality of the film.