Natl Film Title Weekend Gross %B.O. Theatrs Rank LDS/Mormon Filmmaker/Star Total Gross Chnge $/Thtr Days --- --------------------------- ----------- ----- ------- ---- 13 Home on the Range 734,638 -41% 865 45 Roseanne Barr (actress) 48,299,899 $849 (1st billed star) 32 Bugs! 136,554 +7% 25 430 stars Papilio, 8,014,137 $5,462 a Great Mormon butterfly 90 Latter Days 15,861 +17% 13 108 C. Jay Cox (writer/director) 750,082 $1,220 LDS main characters 92 The Best Two Years 14,912 +0.4% 16 87 Scott S. Anderson 806,558 $932 (writer/producer/director) Michael Flynn (producer) Fred C. Danneman (executive producer) Gordon Lonsdale (cinematographer) Wynn Hougaard (editor) Michael McLean (songwriter, music supervisor) Dave Sapp (line producer/1st A.D./unit production manager) Darin Anderson (production manager) Michael L. McDonough (sound editor) Rebecca Nibley (costume designer) Actors: K.C. Clyde, Kirby Heyborne, David Nibley, Cameron Hopkin, Scott Christopher, Michael Flynn 103 The Young Black Stallion 7,664 -19% 9 144 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 6,336,764 $852 130 The United States of Leland 2,068 -52% 15 45 Ryan Gosling (actor) 333,260 $138 (2nd billed star) 142 China: The Panda Adventure 1,194 -66% 17 1025 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 3,708,478 $70 148 Pride and Prejudice 921 -84% 1 164 Andrew Black (director) 368,015 $921 Jason Faller (producer) Kynan Griffin (co-producer) Anne K. Black (screenplay/produc. designer) Jason Faller; Katherine Swigert (screenplay) Travis Cline (cinematographer) Ben Carson (composer) Alexander Vance (editor) Actors: Ben Gourley, Hubbel Palmer, Amber Hamilton, Carmen Rasmusen
BAGGALEY GETS A PEEK AT "A VOICE FROM THE DUST" - Last Friday, I spent about four hours with LDS director Peter Johnson. The topic of discussion was the planned big-budget (at least by LDS Cinema standards) Book of Mormon-based film "A Voice from the Dust: Journey to the Promised Land" which Brother Johnson will be directing. It's been a while since the project has been in the spotlight, and some may have assumed that last year's release of "The Book of Mormon Movie, Vol. 1: The Journey" beat Johnson's project to the promised land and left it essentially lost at sea. But as I quickly found out, this is far from the case. Although it is still not completely funded, the project, which has a planned budget of nearly $8 million, is getting much closer to production. While Brother Johnson and the rest of his team are not ready yet to announce a definite production start date, it could be very soon. In the meantime, the script is essentially finished and they are spending their time fund raising and fine-tuning their already impressive preparations for the day the project finally gets a green light.
While some key creative people are yet to be chosen, much of Johnson's team is assembled and ready to go to work. It includes some of the most talented and experienced LDS filmmakers in the business, including producer Scott Swofford ("The Work and the Glory," "Mysteries of Egypt," "Olympic Glory"), director of photography Reed Smoot ("Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey," "The Young Black Stallion," "Birds of Prey"), film editor David Broberg (who was 1st Assistant Editor on "Titanic" and "That Darn Cat," and airline editor for "Men in Black," "A Knight's Tale," "Finding Forrester," and "The Mirror Has Two Faces"), financial manager Michael Roberts ("Untouchables," Last Man Standing," "Ace Ventura - Pet Detective") and production artist Joseph Brickey (whose work includes the murals for the Copenhagen Temple, the book of paintings "When Jesus Was Born in Bethlehem" and the Salt Lake Temple painting "Christ at the Tomb"). Much of casting will depend on the actors' availability and schedules once production is set, but Johnson has been holding preliminary casting sessions in Los Angeles, New York and London and is considering several phenomenal actors - including some actors theatergoers will recognize and ones who are among the best, classically-trained actors in the world - to fill important roles. Many of these are non-LDS actors who, despite not being affiliated with the church, have expressed a great deal of interest in the project.
The preparations for the shooting of this film are truly amazing. The team has spent four years preparing everything to the tiniest details. Elements such as costume design are backed up by some of the best cutting-edge research available, both from the Middle East and Central America, where most Book of Mormon scholars consider to be the site of the majority of the book's events. As Johnson put it, "We have spent a lot of time with the leading LDS scholars at BYU and elsewhere. The costumes, weaponry, culture, etc., have been designed to truly create an authentic world into which the audience will go." To help create this authentic world, the production team will have the use of a visual effects budget that is larger than the entire budget of most LDS cinema productions. The focus of the team's impressive preparations has been to produce a film that is entertaining, is as historically accurate as possible, and is true to the spirit of the book that inspired it. From my little peek, I'd have to say they are well on the way to achieving that vision.
By the way, some may ask (and some have asked) what will the effect of "The Book of Mormon Movie, Vol. 1: The Journey" be on the box office performance of this second look at 1st Nephi? My take is that it will not have any negative effect on it at all. Brother Johnson's film, although based on the same story will be a very different film from the one Gary Rogers produced and directed. This is natural. Some of Hollywood's most successful films are based on stories that were already familiar to audiences. Some of these have even been based on the same story or event, yet the resulting films are as different as can be. That's why studios release remakes and sequels all the time. The previous film almost never hurts the box office of any quality film to come after it, and often, it even helps create more interest in the second one. If the film is good, people will want to see it. It's as simple as that. And I think this is going to be a VERY good film. More information can be found at the official website: http://www.avoicefromthedust.com
MORE BAGGALEY ON FILM - Thomas also had a (different) article posted at Meridian Magazine this week. See http://www.meridianmagazine.com/arts/040519lingodvd.html to find out what he had to say about "The Legend of Johnny Lingo" on DVD and how Latter-day Saints can have a voice in Hollywood.
ARTICLES ABOUT PASSING AND FUNERAL OF OLIVE OSMOND - See:
ACTOR WHO PLAYED "J. GOLDEN" ON STAGE AND IN VIDEOS DIES - See http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,595063909,00.html
LDS FILM CONTROVERSY ERUPTS: 2 VERSIONS OF 'JOHNNY LINGO' ON MARKET - See http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,595062440,00.html
LDS CINEMA SOUNDTRACK "PRIDE & PREJUDICE" NOMINATED FOR PEARL AWARD - See http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,595063098,00.html
FROM MORMONS WITH LOVE: FRASIER - Of course there are articles about tonight's final episode of "Frasier" all over the news and newspapers. The long-running and critically acclaimed show features one of the best-loved characters ever created by LDS TV writers. Glen and Les Charles, two Latter-day Saint brothers who were raised in an active LDS home in Las Vegas, are best known as the creators of "Cheers." They were the chief producers and writers of that series, and they are credited with creating the character of Frasier Crane. Although apparently not active in the Church as adults, the Charles brothers' LDS influence can clearly be seen in "Cheers," which became one of the most-lauded TV sitcoms in history. The Charles were not very directly involved in the "Frasier" series, having largely retired from active TV producing/writing.
"Frasier" is almost universally regarded by TV critics as a much better series than "Friends," but "Friends" had more viewers, and received much more attention for its final episode last week.
Most viewers were unaware that "Cheers", which was set in Boston, was created by Mormons. The series had no LDS characters and only a few explicit references to Mormons by name. The series "Frasier" was set in Seattle, in a state where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the second largest denomination after the Catholic Church. But "Frasier" had no regular LDS characters, and only one episode that focused on an LDS guest character (Frasier briefly had an agent who was an active Latter-day Saint, but he found she was too nice to represent him as he preferred.)
PARKER BELL'S SHORT FILM "LATTER DAY SAINTS" BEING SHOWN AT SOUTHERN FILM FESTIVALS - See:
BRO. SCOTT TIFFANY'S NEW DOCUMENTARY PREMIERS - Scott Tiffany, a New York City-based Latter-day Saint documentary filmmaker, is the writer/director of the award-winning documentary: "Forgotten Voyage," which details the Mormon pioneer sea trek that settled San Francisco. He has provided the following:
Here is some information about a documentary my company, Time Frame Films, recently produced for Court TV. It premieres on national television tomorrow evening. 'Troubled Waters' tells the story of a bizarre criminal investigation on a river where SCUBA Detectives use underwater forensics and risk their lives to solve the case. But when the truth surfaces, it's not what anyone expected.
The documentary was shot on location in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, a small town in Amish country. The program features Underwater Photography by renowned Underwater Cinematographer Pete Zuccarini. He was recently the Underwater Director of Photography for Pirates of the Caribbean, starring Johnny Depp. Pete is now the Director of Photography on a remake of The Deep for MGM/Mandalay Pictures, starring Paul Walker and Jessica Alba, which is due out next spring. In addition to working as Executive Producer, I also wrote and directed this documentary.
A Time Frame Films Production for Court TV
National Premiere: Wed. May 12, 10 p.m. EST/ 8 p.m. MST
Written and Directed by Scott Tiffany
Edited by Kendrick Simmons
Underwater Photography by Pete Zuccarini
Narrated by Gene Galusha
NEWSPAPER ARTICLE RE: FILMING OF BRO. LUND'S JOSEPH SMITH-ERA MOVIE "THE WORK AND THE GLORY" - See http://www.thedailytimes.com/sited/story/html/164026
NEW PREVIEW TRAILERS ONLINE FOR A HALF-DOZEN MOVIES MADE BY LATTER-DAY SAINTS - Here are some of the trailers for upcoming movies made by Latter-day Saints, available at the QuickTime movie trailer page at Apple.com
This is the newest trailer, for "Collateral." From the trailer it is very apparent that this is quite a departure for Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise stars as a hit man who turns taxi cab driver Jamie Foxx into an unwitting accomplice. His character isn't a good-natured outlaw or an "anti-hero" -- he is an all-out, no-holds-barred bad guy, with Jamie Foxx taking over the protagonist role. This is Tom Cruise's first turn as a movie villain. Bountiful, Utah native Bryan H. Carroll is the associate producer of this action thriller, which was directed by Michael Mann; Tom Cruise stars as a hit man who turns taxi cab driver Jamie Foxx into an unwitting accomplice. Byran Carroll was previously the producer of the short-lived TV series "Robbery Homicide Division," but he is best-known as a film editor. Carroll was the editor for "Major League: Back to the Minors" (1998), "The Phantom" (1996), and the TV movie "The Accident" (1993). Those two movies alone make him one of the top-boxoffice-grossing Mormon film editors working today. Whether or not he is moving into producing only, or will continue to edit, I don't know. Carroll also worked as associate editor or assistant editor on numerous Hollywood movies, including: Mr. Holland's Opus (1995); Free Willy (1993); City Slickers (1991); Die Hard (1988) and Predator (1987).
Made by an almost entirely LDS film crew and cast, "Napoleon Dynamite" received more positive buzz than any film at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Director Jared Hess, who had a cameo appearance in "The Singles Ward" as the DJ at the singles dance, is a recent BYU film school student. He wrote the quirky Idaho comedy with his wife, fellow BYU film school student Jerusha Hess. The film was picked up by Fox Searchlight in a multi-million dollar deal, and will receive one of that distribution company's largest-ever openings next month.
"Around the World in 80 Days": Hong Kong's famed action star Jackie Chan stars in this adaptation of the Jules Verne classic. LDS production designer Perry Andelin Blake, best known for his work on most of the Adam Sandler films, and also as the director of "The Master of Disguise," was the production designer for this $80 million production. The original novel by Verne features 1 chapter on a train in which story's protagonists (including the Jackie Chan character) meet Latter-day Saint missionaries. The chapter features Verne's not-entirely-accurate version of Church's history, including an account of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, the Book of Mormon, and the missionary program. I do not know if this chapter made it into the movie. Probably not.
LDS film editor Brent White, a BYU graduate, is the editor for "Anchorman," a comedy starring Will Farrell, hot off the success of his hit "Elf." Bro. White has previously been the editor of the theatrically released movies "The Slaughter Rule" (2002), "Panic" (2000), "Wildflowers" (1999) and his top-grossing movie, the Danny DeVito comedy "Matilda" (1996).
LDS actor Ryan Gosling (not currently an active churchgoer) stars in this romantic drama about a young man who leaves the love of his life to fight in World War II. The director is non-LDS actor Nick Cassavetes, who has made numerous movies in Utah, and starred in Bro. Blair Treu's "Just Like Dad."
This movie is currently in limited theatrical release, and also stars Ryan Gosling.
MORMON ACTRESS FAY WRAY GETS STAR ON CANADA'S WALK OF FAME - Mormon actress Fay Wray had a long and prolific career, but remains best remembered for her starring role in the classic "King Kong." She was born to Latter-day Saint parents who were not active churchgoers when she was born. But she was born in the all-LDS community of Cardston, Alberta, after which her family moved to an LDS town in Arizona, then moved briefly to Salt Lake City, and finally to California where she began her acting career. Although she was an ethnic Mormon and was raised in 3 different LDS communities, Wray was never baptized and is not known to have ever been a regular churchgoer.
BYU NAMES NEW CHAIR OF THEATER, MEDIA ARTS (ROGER D. SORENSEN) - See http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,595062596,00.html
WILFORD BRIMLEY, OTHERS, SUPPORT LDS RECORDING ENGINEER JIM ANGLESEY - See http://meridianmagazine.com/arts/040513engineer.html
NEW REVIEW OF SAINTS AND SOLDIERS - See http://djardine.blogspot.com/2004_02_01_djardine_archive.html
NEW REVIEW OF MORMON FILMMAKER MATTHEW BARNEY'S "CREMASTER" - See http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1082067018432&call_pageid=968867495754&col=969483191630
LDS POLICE SERGEANT (WHOSE CHARACTER WAS STAR OF 1992 MOVIE) RETIRES - Here is a good article about Sgt. Don Bell, a Latter-day Saint police leader who was at the center of numerous high-profile Utah news stories. His character was the hero of the 1992 TV movie "Deliver Them from Evil: The Taking of Alta View" (1992). Bro. Bell was a consultant for the movie. Bell was also heavily involved with the Unabomber and Elizabeth Smart cases, both of which were also turned into TV movies.
"Deliver Them from Evil: The Taking of Alta View": True story of Latter-day Saint doctors and nurses held hostage at Alta View hospital by a mentally insane man intent on killing his wife's doctor. Police Sergeant Don Bell, also a Latter-day Saint, works to defuse the situation. A man (Rick Worthington) assaults the Alta Vista Hospital taking four women, a man and two babies as hostages. He wants to kill Dr. Garrick, who, according to Worthington, ruined his life sterilizing his wife. He threatens to detonate a bomb.; A devout Mormon, Richard Worthington is outraged when his wife undergoes a tubal ligation, which violates Mormon beliefs. Intent on killing the doctor who performed the operation, Worthington takes the maternity ward of Alta View Hospital hostage. Police Sergeant Don Bell must work to defuse the situation before it escalates. Based on an actual incident.
FAMED LDS GLBT FILIPINO FILMAKER LINO BROCKA'S NEPHEW MAKING A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT HIM - See http://www.affirmation.org/memorial/lino_brocka.asp
L.A. DAILY NEWS EDITORIAL ABOUT LDS MOVIE FILTERING CO. CLEARPLAY, AND OTHER POSSIBLE USES - See http://www.dailynews.com/Stories/0,1413,200~24781~2144224,00.html
LDS LETTER WRITER'S LETTER TO THE EDITOR: CLEAN UP TV AND MOVIES - See http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,595063841,00.html
LDS READER DENOUNCES "MEAN GIRLS", BRO. HUNTER HALE TELLS OF ARNOLD FRIBERG'S VISIT - http://www.sltrib.com/2004/May/05092004/arts/164405.asp
REVIEW OF "LATTER DAYS": HORRIBLY TRITE DRAMA, WOEFULLY FAMILIAR - See http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/entertainment/8657734.htm
NEW REVIEW OF "LATTER DAYS": FOR GLBTS ONLY, MAINSTREAM AUDIENCES WILL LOOK ELSEWHERE - See http://www.nola.com/movies/t-p/index.ssf?/base/entertainment-0/1084516070140730.xml
OFF-TOPIC: MGM'S ANTI-CHRISTIAN MOVIE TRIES MARKETING TO PASSION AUDIENCE - This is an interesting article, but off-topic because "Saved!" has no direct connection to Latter-day Saints. It is a polemical attack on Evangelical Christians, who are conservative Christians, and Latter-day Saints are frequently viewed as very conservative Christians. The target of this Mandy Moore movie is Evangelical Christians, specifically those most like Southern Baptists. The Southern Baptist Convention, which is essentially the country's largest hate group, certainly deserves derision. But the problem with "Saved!" is that it seems to make no real distinction between different Christian groups, and between individual Christians. The end result is that it is simply an attack on all Christians, and all of Christianity.
This particular article doesn't directly address marketing, but it seems that there are considerable efforts underway by MGM to market the film to Christian young people, and tap into the same audiences that gave Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" such great box office numbers. I guess you can't fault marketers and ad agencies for trying, but it's kind of like trying to market "Mein Kampf" to Jews. On the other hand, I've read comments from some people who have seen the movie who did not think that "Saved!" was anti-Christian. But when even such liberal, secular publications as "Slant" magazine and "Hollywood Reporter" give "Saved!" scathing reviews and call it a one-sided ideological screed, I think it is safe to say that this movie is more propaganda than art.
OFF-TOPIC: WALTER MORRISON, THE MORMON WHO INVENTED THE FRISBEE, HONORED - See http://www.sltrib.com/2004/May/05152004/utah/166764.asp and http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,595063442,00.html