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

Weekend of August 22, 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
---  ----------------------------- -----------  -----  ----
 2   S.W.A.T.                       10,581,327  3,204    17
     LDS character                  87,847,065

14   Le Divorce                      1,368,317    422    17
     Matthew Modine (actor)          3,558,534

38   2 Fast 2 Furious                  169,835    215    80
     Paul Walker (lead actor)      126,522,515

56   Wrong Turn                         25,854     45    87
     Eliza Dushku (lead actor)      15,352,334

62   Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure   19,340      8   927
     Scott Swofford (producer)      15,156,060
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)
     Sam Cardon (composer)
     Stephen L. Johnson (editor)

76   Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man    8,748      4  1200
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   15,507,852

83   Cremaster 3                         4,650      2   122
     Mathew Barney                     428,447

84   China: The Panda Adventure          4,626      3   759
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    3,337,652

97   Galapagos                           1,419      2  1396
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   14,052,807

99   The R.M.                            1,260      3   206
     Kurt Hale (writer/director)     1,057,022
     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.

LDSFILM.COM TO ADD A MOVIE LISTINGS FEATURE - Coming soon, will maintain a page listing theaters and showtimes for LDS Cinema films as well as smaller, independent films with Latter-day Saint filmmakers in above-the-line roles. To make certain that listings of theaters and showtimes are included and up-to-date, we ask filmmakers to e-mail on a weekly basis with a list of theaters (including phone numbers - to double-check showtimes - and addresses) and projected showtimes for the upcoming weekend. Please spread the word about this new feature to anyone you know who would be interested in using this resource to find out which LDS-related films are playing in their area.

JOHNNY LINGO-MGM CONNECTION - MGM, one of the BIG STUDIOS, will distribute "The Legend of Johnny Lingo," a new motion picture produced by Latter-day Saint producers Jerry Molen and John Garbett and directed by Latter-day Saint film editor Steve Ramirez. Here's a related website showing the movie poster, as well as MGM's distribution of it: A full-page ad appeared in the Daily Universe (BYU newspaper) for the movie, and included MGM's logo.

JOHNNY LINGO REVIEW ON MERIDIAN - Film composer and webmaster has written a movie review of "The Legend of Johnny Lingo." Read it in Meridian Magazine:

MORE ON JOHNNY LINGO DIRECTOR STEVEN RAMIREZ - Steven Ramirez is best known for editing "The Other Side of Heaven." Ramirez also has one credit as the sole screenwriter of a critically acclaimed direct-to-video movie, "The Killers." The cover for "The Killers" can be seen here:

BOOK OF MORMON MOVIE RATED PG-13 - According to newly added information on the official website for Gary Rogers' upcoming feature film "Book of Mormon, Volume 1: The Journey," the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) has rated the movie PG-13. According to the movie's website, the rating is probably due to a particularly intense scene in which Nephi and Laban are involved in, as Anakin Skywalker once put it, "aggressive negotiations." The movie's official website is adamant that the movie has no vulgar or profane language, nudity, or sex. Rogers says on his website that future volumes in the series will likely be PG-13 because of the violence inherent in the stories, but that he states that he will never release one with an R-rating.

THE WORK AND THE STORY PREMIERE DATES, TIMES AND LOCATIONS - "The Work and the Story," an LDS-themed mockumentary about LDS Cinema stars Richard Dutcher and Kirby "Omnipresent" Heyborne, with writer/director Nathan Smith Jones in the lead role. Plus Jennifer Hoskins, Dave Boud, and Dan Merkley - any one of which could make a fine governor some day. If you go to the official website you can see maps to the locations, and even photos of the venues. See:

KANAB FESTIVAL HONORS TOWN'S HOLLYWOOD HERITAGE - Kanab, Utah, a.k.a. "Little Hollywood" a.k.a. "Hollywood East" a.k.a. "Hollywood With Morals" See

CARMEN SINGS - Deseret News, detailed article about the Delta Center concert starring Latter-day Saint singing sensation Carmen Rasmusen:,1249,510049393,00.html



* * *

NEW VUISSA SHORT HEADING FOR ACADEMY AWARD CONSIDERATION - Austrian Latter-day Saint filmmaker Christian Vuissa is the founder of the LDS Film Festival and the recipient of only the second AML Award for Film ever granted, for his ground-breaking LDS-themed short film "Roots & Wings." Vuissa is currently working on the LDS Cinema feature film "Eat, Drink and Get Married." But his latest short film, "Unfolding," is currently appearing across the country in prestigious film festivals. "Unfolding" is/was an official selection at the following festivals (to date):
- daVinci Film Festival 2003, Corvallis, Oregon, July 18-20, 2003
- Rhode Island International Film Festival 2003, August 5-10, 2003
- Atlantic City Film Festival 2003, August 9-16, 2003
- Temecula Valley International Film Festival 2003, September 10-14, 2003
- Palm Springs Int'l Festival of Film Shorts 2003, September 16-22, 2003
- Damah Spiritual Film Festival 2003, Seattle, October 23-25, 2003
- "Unfolding" won the award for Best College Drama at the 15th daVinci Film Festival 2003.

Note that both the Rhode Island and the Palm Springs Festival have been chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as qualifying festivals for the Short Films category for the Annual Academy Awards. With more than 1200 film festivals worldwide, only 47 have this recognition. Does this mean that "Unfolding" will be in contention for Academy Award consideration? Yes, it does. It does not mean that it WILL be nominated, but it has a shot.

"Unfolding" is currently on sale only at LDS Video Store (

* * *

A MORMON IN "NORTHFORK"? - "Northfork" is a new feature film currently in theatrical release. The movie stars non-LDS Utah native James Woods in the lead role. Co-stars include Mark Polish, Nick Nolte, Daryl Hannah and Anthony Edwards. The movie depicts a group of government agents trying to persuade residents of a rural area of Montana to move away before the area is flooded. One resident is a devoutly religious taxidermist, "Mr. Stalling", played by veteran character actor Marshall Bell. He and his two wives (named Mrs. Stalling #1 and Mrs. Stalling #2 in the credits) have built a home in the shape of an ark and tell Woods' character that they plan to float when the waters come. A few movie reviewers refer to the three characters (Stalling and his 2 wives) as "Mormons," or "Mormon polygamists," but nearly all other reviewers simply refer to them as "polygamists" (perhaps a nod to Church preferences?), or they simply call Mr. Stalling a man with two wives. I haven't seen the movie, so I have no way of knowing if the characters are intended to be Mormonesque polygamists, or if the Stallings are intended to be general Protestant polygamists.

* * *

WRITER DAVID CORBETT PRAISES REALISM OF LDS CHARACTER IN "S.W.A.T." - [EXCERPTS:] A former private investigator and one-time probate lawyer, Corbett now makes his living writing crime novels. Good ones. His first, The Devil's Redhead (2002) won instant acclaim for its wit and stunning emotional style. His latest, Done for a Dime, is even better. It's a fast-paced yarn about a murdered bluesman, a bummed-out cop and a horn-playing prime-suspect with Daddy issues, told with plausible plotting, richly imagined characters, a few nice surprises and some extremely believable dialogue. All of which are elements entirely lacking from S.W.A.T.

"Nobody speaks in dialogue in this movie," Corbett says. "They all talk in slogans. The only cop who looked and talked like a real police officer was the potbellied Mormon guy in the gun cage, constantly sneaking fast food and soda pop, begging the guys not to tell his wife. That's your average cop. Everybody else in the movie was a cartoon. I was actually embarrassed for Samuel Jackson."

"Maybe this movie should have been titled C.L.I.C.H.E," I remark.

"Or just plain B.A.D.," Corbett replies. "The characters were so far off the mark. Cops are fascinating people, real cops are. They are really interesting, with great human stories to tell, but in this movie nobody ever did or said anything that made them really interesting. Except the fast food guy." ....

Note that the full article contains some R-rated language, not excerpted here. Source: interview/article by David Templeton:

* * *

NEWSLETTER FROM HALESTORM ENTERTAINMENT [the following section is taken directly from HaleStorm's mailing to subscribers]:

The R.M. will finally open in California on Friday, September 5th. These limited engagements are for one to two weeks only, so make sure you see it opening weekend, or you might miss your chance.

Here's a list of the cities where it will be playing:

Northern California

LA/Orange/San Bernardino County

Southern California

Theaters are being added almost daily! Check your local theater listings for locations and showtimes or go to for updated theater information.

NEW HALESTORM WEB SITE - Go to and see the newly redesigned site, featuring links to The Singles Ward, The R.M., and the upcoming The Home Teachers and The Best Two Years!

There's a bunch of new LDS-themed films coming to theaters this fall! Go to to find out the latest on The Book of Mormon Movie, The Work and the Story, Day of Defense and The Legend of Johnny Lingo!

TOO LATE FOR BAGGALEY - I am personally relieved to see that "The R.M." is finally being released in California. Having made what now looks like a foolish prediction that "The R.M." would be passing "The Singles Ward" in gross box office by next week, only to see "The R.M." pass through some surprisingly difficult weeks - encountering difficulty in finding available venues in Arizona and posting record low numbers - I am hoping to see those numbers climb with the addition of California audiences. It will be too late for my prediction to come true by the time the film enters California, but anyone who has an interest in the success of LDS Cinema has got to hope that "The R.M." does succeed in passing "The Singles Ward" - and soon. Last we heard, the DVD/video release was scheduled for the end of September.

* * *

"DAY OF DEFENSE" TO BE DISTRIBUTED BY L.A.-BASED VIKING MEDIA - "Day of Defense" will be distributed by Los Angeles-based Viking Media. "Day of Defense" premieres in Salt Lake City on October 10, 2003. As far as we know this will be the first movie that Viking Media has ever distributed.

This LDS-themed feature film will be only the second LDS Cinema movie to be distributed by an out-of-state firm. The previous time this was attempted was with "Out of Step," whose original release is largely considered the low-point in LDS Cinema distribution history, even though the movie itself is one of the best in the genre. "Out of Step" remains the lowest-grossing LDS Cinema film.

If "Day of Defense" tanks at the box office, it may sour local filmmakers on the idea of distributing their LDS Cinema fare with little known out-of-state distributors. They may prefer to stick with more experienced in-state companies such as Excel Entertainment and HaleStorm Entertainment / HaleStone Distribution, distribute the movie themselves (which is what Kels Goodman did with "Handcart," although he doesn't recommend that route), or hope to be picked up by a bigger-name national distributor (which is what Ryan Little hopes will happen with "Saints and Soldiers").

Gary Rogers' Book of Mormon movie is being distributed by "Mormon Movies," a company the filmmakers organized specifically for this purpose, using a novel internet advance ticket sales technique. If their distribution is wildly successful, filmmakers may be taking to Rogers et al about helping them sell seats to their own movies.

Note that all of the above does not take into account "Suddenly Unexpected," which was made in Houston and isn't really being distributed by anybody, except the filmmakers, who screened it in one commercial theater in Houston.

Hopefully "Day of Defense" will do well in theaters. It is easily the most courageous and interesting LDS Cinema movie made yet, with regards to its thematic content. Most LDS Cinema films have stayed far away from controversial material, and even the much-discussed (and excellent) "Brigham City" really just re-worked the safest movie genre known to man - the thriller/murder mystery. The move contained many, many issues worth talking about, issues about which people disagree. But the core thematic element: a serial killer, is 100% non-controversial. Over 99.9% are against serial killers.

"Day of Defense," on the other hand, is centered on controversial issues. Not issues that were controversial 100 years ago or 20 years ago, or last year, but legal, moral, political and ethical issues which are topical right now, issues which are unsettled, issues about which reasonable people find themselves on opposite sides. The topic does not only divide mainstream people from extremists.

Roughly half of viewers will not even judge "Day of Defense" on its merits as a film, but based on the degree to which they agree or disagree with how it handles controversial issues. Fortunately, the film's protagonists -- both admirable men -- find themselves on opposite sides of the movie's core issues, which underscores the fact that the film tells a story, it doesn't just preach a sermon with a single viewpoint. Still, many viewers are likely to read into the film what they bring to it.

* * *

MELLEN STARS IN "THE QUIET" - Kymberly Mellen is a Chicago-based actress. She and her husband, filmmaker Vance Mellen ("Screatures") are active Latter-day Saints and graduates of Brigham Young University. Kymberly Mellen is the star of a new film "The Quiet," premiering this weekend. Be sure to check it out!

>From Vance and Kym Mellen, Mellenhead Productions at and Legacy Videos at

Hi Everyone, THE QUIET is a film I play the lead in, that is having it's Premier this Saturday, 8pm at the Gene Siskel Film Center. You might recognize a lot of other Chicago actors. Please come if you can!!! See you there...

You are cordially invited to attend the Sneak Preview of the THE QUIET directed by Tom Silva at the Gene Siskel Film Center located at 164 North State St. on Saturday, August 23 at 8:00 p.m.

THE QUIET 2003, Tom Silva,
USA, 119 min.

With Jeremy Sklar, Kymberly Mellen

The Gene Siskel Film Center describes "The Quiet": Made entirely in Chicago, THE QUIET charts the creeping deterioration of the marriage of two affluent young professionals, Ted (Sklar) and Christy (Mellen). A north side town house filled with trendy lifestyle accessories provides an attractive front for a relationship that has long since taken a disturbing turn behind the scenes. Christy's passivity extends to ignoring the obvious signs of Ted's affair, while his deep-seated hostility is manifest in Christy's mysterious bruises. Actors Sklar and Mellen, both veterans of the Chicago theater scene, shine in roles that demand nuanced non-verbal communication.

Producer/cinematographer Michael Wright and members of the cast will be present for audience discussion.

Jeremy Sklar ("Ted") is an actor, director and drama coach based in Los Angeles, CA. A graduate of USC, he has appeared in a host of theater productions in Los Angeles and Chicago, including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,Private Eyes, Lion in the Winter and Six Degrees of Separation. He has also directed and acted in numerous independent films, includingGravity, Out of the Blue and Coasting.

Kymberly Mellen ("Christy") has appeared in numerous stage productions in Chicago and around the country. Most recently, she played Cleo, Singer in Rocket to the Moon at Writers' Theatre in Glencoe, IL. Other recent Chicago credits include Helena in Short Shakespeare: A Midsummers Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and Two Gentlemen of Verona at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, My Fair Lady with Court Theatre, Whale Music (Constellation Players), and multiple roles in The American Girl Revue. She holds a degree from The Theatre School at DePaul University and BYU.

How to attend? Tickets to films are $8 ($4 for Film Center members), $3 for student, faculty, and staff of the School of the Art Institute and staff of the Art Institute. For more information, call 312-846-2600 (general information) or 312-846-2800 (Hotline).Tickets are available at the Gene Siskel Film Center Box Office (opens 1 hour before the first show of the day).Tickets may also be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 312-575-8000 or by visiting