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

Weekend of July 18, 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
---  ----------------------------- -----------  -----  ----
17   2 Fast 2 Furious                  790,020    650    45
     Paul Walker (lead actor)      124,028,375

29   Wrong Turn                        135,930    111    52
     Eliza Dushku (lead actor)      14,872,646

48   Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure   36,176      9   892
     Scott Swofford (producer)      14,988,449
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)
     Sam Cardon (composer)
     Stephen L. Johnson (editor)

55   Cremaster Cycle                    23,348      4    87
     Mathew Barney                     357,749

61   Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man   14,215      4  1165
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   15,397,333

75   China: The Panda Adventure          4,843      3   724
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    3,272,136

89   The R.M.                            2,532      4   171
     Kurt Hale (writer/director)     1,031,755
     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.

QUIET WEEK ON THE NUMBERS FRONT - It's a quiet week on the numbers front. "The R.M." is yet to move into California and other states and is still chugging along in the dollar theaters. August 29th seems to be the day when things are really going to finally start moving. Both "The Legend of Johnny Lingo" and "The Work and the Story" are scheduled to be released that day. "The Book of Mormon Movie, Vol. 1: The Journey" will follow a couple of weeks later. For now, we just scratch around for things to write about... I took my family to a dollar movie last night (Monday) and "The R.M." was still sold out for its prime-time showing. Spotted at the theater -- legendary "Tennis Shoes" author Chris Heimerdinger, the director of the documentary "Lehi's Land of Ancient Inheritance." I believe he was there to see "The R.M." (We saw "Holes" which has no LDS connection that we know of, but is still a very fun movie - highly recommended.)


LATTER-DAY SAINTS/UTAHNS RECEIVE EMMY NOMINATIONS - The nominations for the 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were announced today (17 July 2003) by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences from the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre, North Hollywood, California. These awards cover the period of June 1, 2002 through May 31, 2003.

A number of Utahns and Latter-day Saints received nominations.

Daryn Reid Goodall, a Latter-day Saint who was born and raised in Utah, received an Emmy nomination for Oustanding Art Direction For A Variety Or Music Program for his work as art director on FOX's "MADtv." He shared the nomination with production designer John Sabato and art director D. Martyn Bookwalter. Goodall also competes in the Oustanding Art Direction For A Variety Or Music Program category with the 75th Annual Academy Awards, "Cedric the Entertainer Presents" and The 45th Annual Grammy Awards.

Another Utahn who received an Emmy nomination this year was non-Latter-day Saint actor James Woods. Woods, a native of Vernal, Utah was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie. Woods received the nomination for his starring role as New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani in the USA cable movie "Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story." Woods competes for the award with Paul Newman (who received a BAFTA nomination in 1971 for playing Mormon outlaw Butch Cassidy). Newman was nominated for his role in "Our Town" on Showtime. The other nominees in this category are William H. Macy ("Door to Door"), Brad Garrett ("Gleason") and Tom Wilkinson ("Normal").

Donny and Marie Osmond, who were previously nominated for an Emmy for their talk show, star in one of the TV commercials nominated for the Outstanding Commercial Award. The Pepsi Twist commercial titled "The Osbournes" was nominated in this category. The ad was produced by Hungry Man production company for the BBDO ad agency of New York. In the ad Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne are frustrated by their two quirky children Kelly and Jack, but then are even more horrified when the kids rip off masks to reveal that they are actually Donny and Marie Osmond.

The Osmonds' commercial competes with "Angry Chicken" (Nike Footwear), "Fish" (PBS promo), "Sheens" (VISA) and "Squares" (Volkswagen Beetle).

Finally, the Utah-filmed WB television series "Everwood" received a nomination for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music. The series is produced by Everwood Utah, Inc. in association with and distributed by Warner Bros. Television. The nomination went to composer Blake Neely.

"Everwood," which features a number of Latter-day Saints and Utahns in recurring roles, competes in this category with NBC's "Boomtown," ABC's "Miracles," USA Network's "Monk" and a Showtime series featuring Penn and Teller.

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NEW "BRIGHAM YOUNG" DVD DRAWS CROWDS - See Carole Mikita's report at

BLUE COLLAR ACTOR ON SALE - "Blue Collar Actor," the first feature-length release from New Jersey-based production company Liahona Films, is now on sale. The movie, which features significant amounts of autobiographical elements, was written and directed by Latter-day Saint filmmaker Jeff Profitt. Profitt stars in the title role. Profitt's real-life wife stars as his character's wife. There are some really very intriguing production photos and stills posted on the website:

I haven't seen "Blue Collar Actor" yet, but I'll let you know what I think after I do... It's certainly something a little different as far as independent films from Latter-day Saint filmmakers go... Distinguished by, among other things, its place of origin. LDS-themed feature films have taken place in New York City ("Out of Step", "Jack Weyland's Charly"), but even most of the New York scenes were actually filmed in Utah. "Blue Collar Actor" was made entirely in New Jersey.

LEGEND OF JOHNNY LINGO GRAPHICS - Graphics and stills from "Legend of Johnny Lingo", which premiers in theaters on Labor Day weekend:

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FILMING HAS BEGUN ON "THE HOME TEACHERS"/BROUGH TO A.D. - Press Release: HaleStorm Entertainment is pleased to announce they have begun principle photography on their third feature film, The Home Teachers. Shooting began on Monday July 14 in Provo. For additional information: Jed Ivie (801) 362-9063

Plus - HaleStorm Entertainment has announced that Brian A. Brough will be the unit production manager and first assistant director for their upcoming feature film "The Home Teachers," which is now being filmed in Utah County. Brough previously served as the A.D. (assistant director) for the Latter-day Saint-themed feature films "Brigham City" and "Out of Step." Brough is also the producer of the upcoming Ryan Little feature film "Saints and Soldiers." He produced the direct-to-video instructional video "Road to Riches" (starring Marvin Payne), and such BYU student films as "Freedom on the Water" (starring Lincoln Hoppe), "In Time of Need" (starring Lincoln Hoppe and Ruth Hale) and "The Last Good War" (starring Hoppe). Brough was also the production manager for HaleStorm's most recent release, "The R.M." The key people behind "The Home Teachers" are largely the same people who made "The Singles Ward" and "The R.M."

Returning to their previous positions:
Director: Kurt Hale
Producer: Dave Hunter
Screenwriter: John E. Moyer and Kurt Hale
D.P.: Ryan Little

The most significant new face who will have a big part in the movie is Jeff Birk, who stars in the lead role. Birk only had a bit part in "The Singles Ward," so he was not an above-the-line fixture in any previous HaleStorm release. Birk's co-star is Michael Birkelund, who was one of the stars of "The Singles Ward" and also had a supporting role in "The R.M."

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SEE PRODUCTION PHOTOS FROM "THE HOME TEACHERS" - Here are about 6 production photos from the filming of "The Home Teachers", starring Jeff Birk and Michael Birkelund, directed by Kurt Hale:

EVANS IN "LIKEN" - has learned that Latter-day Saint actress Tracy Ann Evans, best known for playing Kirby Heyborne's mom in "The R.M.", is also featured in the upcoming direct-to-video musical version of the Nephi and Lehi story from the Book of Mormon, "Liken the Scriptures" (2003).

DONNY ON CARTOON NETWORK THIS WEEK - Cartoon Network: Christmas in July posted by joshualane - July 20 2003 - 5:27pm Sun, Sand and Santa: CHRISTMAS IN JULY Heats Up Cartoon Network Lineup The Grinch, Scooby-Doo, Fred Flintstone and Johnny Bravo Gather for a Premature Holiday Celebration on Friday, July 25 at 8 p.m. (ET, PT) 9:30 p.m.: A Johnny Bravo Christmas- The pumped-up prima donna forgets to mail his letter to Santa Claus, so he goes on a wacky adventure to deliver it to the North Pole in time. Along the way to Santa's lair, Johnny seeks help from Donny Osmond in making (his own) spirits bright.

MCDONALD'S NEW CD - Covenant is pleased to present a collection of beautifully arranged hymns by acclaimed pianist Marshall McDonald. Each of these favorites, masterfully performed by this talented musician, will invite a spirit of peace to your home and add to your listening enjoyment. This album is destined to be a favorite addition to your Sunday listening library. Songs include: I Am a Child of God, Did You Think to Pray, Be Still My Soul, Lead Kindly Light, Joseph Smith's First Prayer, How Great the Wisdom and the Love, Sweet Hour of Prayer, Where Can I Turn for Peace, As the Dew From Heaven Distilling, I Need Thee Every Hour, O Home Beloved, Jesus the Very Thought of Thee. Marshall McDonald is a 25-year-old pianist and composer from Salt Lake City, Utah. Marshall's first CD, Sunday Morning Light was nominated for two Pearl awards and won the Covenant Award of Excellence for the best-selling CD of the year 2000. Marshall was also nominated for "Best New Artist of the Year" in the year 2000. In 2001 Marshall released his second CD His Light Divine and composed a film score to Because Sunday is Special, an animated video that teaches the importance of the Sabbath day.

A WORD REGARDING SCHEDULING - During the spring, only one LDS-themed film was released - "The R.M." Last fall, "Charly" and "Handcart" were both released.

The last we heard, this fall, six LDS-themed films are expected to be released, including Gary Rogers' "Book of Mormon Movie, Vol. 1: The Journey," "Saints and Soldiers," "Suddenly Unexpected," "The Work and the Story," "Day of Defense" and "Pride and Prejudice." Sounds like a log-jam! I only know of four LDS-themed films that are right now contemplating a Spring 2004 release - and who knows if all four of those will even be made. (We don't even include Jerry Molen's "The Legend of Johnny Lingo" since that one does not have specifically LDS characters, but is still certain to attract a large portion of the LDS theater-going audience.)

Okay, we can talk about the glut of films and if the market can possibly support all of these films, but I'd rather focus on a little-talked-about point when it comes to theatrical releases of LDS-themed films. Why does it seem that lately producers of LDS-themed films favor a fall release over a spring one? Now, I'm not saying that filmmakers should get ambitious and shoot for a late-May, early-June release. That would be suicide. And obviously, there are forces at work that seem to favor films being completed in the fall, such as the favorable shooting weather in spring and summer. But there are several reasons that to me would favor taking a few more months on postproduction or just plain holding a completed film and releasing it in the spring.

The first issue is the window of opportunity for an independent film to appear in theaters. There are basically two windows - one in the fall, between the summer blockbusters and the holiday Hollywood releases, and one in the late winter/early spring, after the holidays and prior to the beginning of the summer blockbuster season. A film that opens in the fall must open in September, maybe late August at the earliest. By Thanksgiving, first-run venues will be difficult to find. In other words, this is essentially a three-month window. The spring window is much longer. An independent film can open in January - competing against potentially Oscar-nominated films that opened in Los Angeles just in time to be considered (but most LDS theatergoers will pass on many of these anyway, as they are often rated R) and a bunch of garbage films that Hollywood didn't think could handle the holiday competition. Then, the window of opportunity for an independent film extends clear until the beginning of May - when the summer blockbusters start to come out. That's at least 4 months, maybe even 4 1/2. It just makes sense to take advantage of the bigger window. Secondly, LDS-themed films historically have done better during the spring months. The best month to have your film going strong? Actually, historically, it's April (for a number of reasons, most of them obvious). The worst month (historically) for LDS-themed films? November.

Now, obviously, there are a number of things that can affect the historical numbers including which films have been released when and how many other LDS-themed films were playing at the same time (competition). We'll keep an eye on it and see if these trends change, since we at this point do have a rather small data pool (7 films that have reported box office gross totals). But it's still something to consider. Note: To accompany this post, Thomas has produced detailed graphs based on the actual weekly box office/theater number/etc. data for all of the films in the data set. These charts will be uploaded tonight to replace the charts at Thomas also intends to update this charts on a weekly basis as new film data becomes available.

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PROJECT GREENLIGHT'S DAGEN MERRILL - Meridian Magazine has a great full-length article written by Academy Award-winning Latter-day Saint filmmaker Kieth Merrill about this son Dagen Merrill, who was recently featured in the HBO TV series as one of the 3 finalist directors in the Project Greenlight competition, in which thousands of directors competed for a chance to direct a feature film produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. The article is here, and it is a must-read:

CASTING "VOICE FROM THE DUST" (BOOK OF MORMON MOVIE) - Here is a lengthy article by Latter-day Saint director Peter Johnson about casting parts for characters playing "Church icons," i.e., figures from Church history or the Book of Mormon.

Here are the parts Johnson will be casting for his upcoming movie:
Mormon, age 74
Moroni, age 32
Nephi, must be able to play 16 through 24
Lehi, 45
Laman, 23
Lemuel, 21
Sariah, 41
Sam, 19
Laban, 40
Zoram, 30
Ishmael, 50

Here is the link to the article at Meridian Magazine:

ARTICLE ABOUT T.C. CHRISTENSEN - There's a great, in-depth article in the Daily Universe about Latter-day Saint director of photography and sometime director T.C. Christensen. I'm assuming that everyone who receives this message already knows who T.C. is, but if you don't... Well, I can guarantee you've seen his work. A lot. The article mentions T.C.'s upcoming movie, the feature film adaptation of "Saturday's Warrior." See the article at:

NEW CREMASTER REVIEW - See for a new review of LDS filmmaker Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle.


DE AZEVEDO, NO NOT THAT DE AZEVEDO OR THAT ONE EITHER - Hey, check out Rachel de Azevedo Coleman in the 3-volume video series she produced and stars in: "Signing Time." Rachel has a great voice, a unique sound with songs and musical scores written by Lex de Azevedo himself (her dad). Similar in some ways to her sister Julie de Azevedo, but different. These things are everywhere: Target, Walmart, LDS Video Store, My kids have been watching these, and they're just crazy for them. They're running around the house making sentences in sign language.


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Auditions Being Held for 'Joseph Smith' Role (Salt Lake City, Utah) -- July 15, 2003

Deseret Media Productions, a company owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is producing a new film based on the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. We are currently casting the LEAD ROLE:

-Height: 6'0" or taller
-Age Must be able to portray from 21 to 39 years old. (Actors should be in their mid-to-late twenties.)
-Build: Athletic, approximately 200-215 lbs.
-Complexion: Fair with Light eyes

Character and Personality: Charismatic, Positive, Intelligent, Passionate, Wise beyond his years, Deeply Spiritual, Approachable, Fun-loving, Athletic, Loves Children and people of All Ages, and others enjoy being around him. In short, a very well-rounded human being.

ALL OTHER ROLES for this film will be addressed at a future date.

Due to the intensity of this highly demanding role, we are considering ONLY seasoned actors with professional experience in theater and/or film. This will be a S.A.G. affiliated production, although auditions are open to ALL actors regardless union membership. As usual, preference will be given to members of the LDS faith although consideration will NOT be limited thereto. Actors of ALL faiths may apply.

AUDITIONS are CURRENTLY taking place in New York and Los Angeles. Please contact the appropriate Casting Director for an appointment AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. (If you are LDS, please identify yourself as such when making your audition appointment.)

Jackie Burch
310-360-6861 (office)
310-360-9134 (fax)
8601 Wilshire Place Suite 1006
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Assistant: Tim Donner

Elaine Huzzar
212-609-9383 (office)
646-214-7906 (fax)
451 Greenwich St. 7th floor
New York, NY 10013

If you have any further questions, you may contact the Audiovisual Casting Producer:


Calls will be taken by: 1-800-453-3860, ext. 2-1965

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BOOK OF MORMON ON DVD/VIDEO - Covenant Communications will release the following product in October:
Scriptures on DVD/VHS
Book of Mormon on DVD

Great blessings are promised to individuals and families as they study the Book of Mormon. Now, for the first time on convenient DVD, you can listen to the word-for-word narration of this sacred book while you follow along with the highlighted text on your television screen. Listen and watch while exercising, working around the house, or relaxing as a family. Studying the scriptures has never been easier.

Other DVD features include:
* Gospel Doctrine reading assignments -- a special menu helps you study the specific chapters for each Sunday School lesson.
* Reading calculator -- this chart helps you see how soon you will finish the Book of Mormon by studying for a specified number of minutes each day.
* Interactive menu systems--quickly navigate to any book or chapter with the click of your remote.
* Bonus audio talk -- includes the classic talk by President Ezra Taft Benson, "The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God."
* Over 25 hours of Dolby Digital Stereo Audio narrated by Rex Campbell.
* Randomized Play option for a different chapter each day.
3 DVD set will have SRP of $39.95
5 VHS set will have SRP of $34.95

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JOHNNY LINGO A CHANGE OF PACE: "The Legend of Johnny Lingo" bears many similarities to director Steven Ramirez's previous feature work: He was the editor of "The Other Side of Heaven," also produced by Molen and Garbett, and also filmed entirely in New Zealand and Raratonga. "Heaven" was based on the memoirs of a Latter-day Saint apostle, recalling his mission in Tonga. "Lingo" is based on a story set in Polynesia, a story popularized by a Latter-day Saint-made film (although the story has no actual Latter-day Saint characters.) Both the G-rated "Lingo" and the PG-rated "Heaven" are a change of pace from Ramirez's previous feature film. He was the screen writer of the award-winning direct-to-video movie "Killers." Here is some additional info about "Killers," from the movie's official website:

[QUOTE] Award-winning, cult film KILLERS will premiere at the Hermosa Beach Film Festival on Saturday, September 12 at 10pm. The festival serves as a launching pad for the film's September 22 home video release. KILLERS, produced by The Asylum, will be available through all major video stores including Blockbuster, Hollywood Video and Tower Records. A highly stylized action-thriller, KILLERS won Best Picture at the UK International Festival of Fantastic Films and played this summer at special midnight showings, alongside Quentin Tarantino's THE BEYOND.

KILLERS, a frightening journey into Man's primal soul, follows a rich girl out for a thrill who becomes trapped in an abandoned warehouse. Hunted by five brutal killers, she is forced to undergo a horrifying metamorphosis in order to survive. The film stars Kim Little from the top-ten rated television series DIAGNOSIS MURDER and Chris Maleki of MELROSE PLACE. Also starring are David Jean-Thomas from CITY OF ANGELS and Frankie Ray who plays the vampire leader in this summer's number one action-horror film, BLADE. [END QUOTE]

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STORYBOARD, OTHER ARTISTS NEEDED (PAID) - DBD Productions is currently looking for paid interns to functions as storyboard artist for commercials and commercial films.

These positions require competent sketch artists who work well without constant supervision, and under a deadline. Artist must have the ability to work quickly and efficiently, while creating high quality work.

Positions entail: Receiving basic sketches via internet from creative team.

Taking those sketched ideas and turn them into high quality drawings (both colored and outline) which will represent the finished commercial and/or commercial films.

Artist must have the ability and availability to receive, finish and deliver work within 48 hours. Up to 10 sketches at a time. Artists will receive full credit for their work and also be paid for work completed (salary negotiable and dependent upon experience or schooling completed).

Applicants need to provided finished sketches in black outline and sketched color. Subjects will be provided. Please email for links to the application information.

Applicants must also provide samples from their portfolio showing: -Photgraphic quality artwork -Animation stills (in a series of at least 3) -CG animation (prefered but not required) useing Lightwave, Maya, Cinema 4d, or 3dMax as *.mov files only.

Submission deadline is July 24th. To submit, please email to