News: Mormon movie update

Some brief notes from all over:

States of Grace now has an official release date: Nov. 4. Also, Richard Dutcher is releasing a 2-disk deluxe edition of God’s Army. Just in time for Christmas, kids.

The Work and the Glory: American Zion is opening in an unprecedented 200 theaters this Friday. For reference, I think Mobsters and Mormons opened in 32. The first Work and the Glory reached 117 and The Other Side of Heaven eventually reached 306. But 200 is by far the widest opening. I’ve also noticed a remarkable advertising campaign for American Zion ““ I’ve seen advertisements on Rotten Tomatoes, Fandango and other sites around the web. It looks like this one has a good shot at “breaking out” into a mainstream audience and could possibly be the highest grossing LDS film yet.

A trailer for the upcoming Church Ball is up. Hey, if they’ve got Fred Willard, it can’t be that bad.

American Mormon was successful enough to spur a sequel, currently in progress in Europe. They now have a blog on which they will post podcasts, the first is up already. It’s nothing too interesting, just an introduction to the project really.

Speaking of podcasts, John Moyer, who directed Mobsters and Mormons, and Nathan Smith Jones, who directed The Work and the Story, did a three part podcast on LDS film. There are a few interesting tidbits, but there’s a lot of inanity and wasted time.

One point I did think kind of funny was John’s mention that, in its opening weekend, Mobsters and Mormons was the number two film in Provo theaters ““ second to The Exorcism of Emily Rose. He expresses some frustration that Mormons are always saying that they want clean, wholesome films, and then go to Exorcism instead. But I’m not sure that the two films share the same audience, even if both audiences are Mormon. I mean, I can’t imagine too many people were looking at the selection and asking “Well, should we see Mobsters and Mormons or The Exorcism of Emily Rose tonight?”

The last half of the third part is a review of Eric D. Snider’s review of Mobsters and Mormons, wherein they spend as much time making personal insults toward Snider as talking about the review. The whole thing sounded to me like some bitter kids who had been criticized and had to find some childish way to get back. There’s nothing wrong with defending your film, but Moyer was just hitting back. At an AML conference last year Eric Samuelsen said that the number one thing standing in the way of better Mormon stories and films was writers’ inability to accept criticism and suggestions of revision. It seems to me that these guys are just proving him right.

7 thoughts on “News: Mormon movie update”

  1. Speaking of publicity for “American Zion”: In the last couple of weeks, I have seen full size billboard for the film on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles and on I-80 near Berkeley, California. These locations can’t be cheap

    Greg Call

  2. Thanks for the update, Eric.

    I’m not inviting a flame war here, but….

    This isn’t the first time  that Moyer has reacted to criticism of his work — and by criticism I mean actual thoughtful evaluation of his films. Big C criticism if you will (which may be part of his problem with it). 

    Posted by William Morris

  3. I’m not Mormon…but I LOVE Mormon movies! I’m especially a fan of the comedies (The R.M, The Home Teachers, and The Work and the Story in particular), but also have seen some of the more “serious” ones (God’s Army and The Other Side of Heaven), and enjoyed them as well. I just wish that theatres in my area (Upstate NY) would show them so I didn’t have to wait until they come out on dvd! I also wish that more rental chains (or Netflix) carried more of them. I guess I just have to settle for slowly but surely building up my own collection when I can buy them. 🙂  

    Posted by The Last Inch

  4. Early word on the street is that States of Grace  is very good. Adam Anderegg has said it is Dutcher’s best and Eric Snider has said it’s the best Mormon film yet.

    It’s supposed to be coming out this Friday, but I have no idea where. It will probably just be Utah theaters to begin with.

  5. States of Grace was embarrassing. Some RM friends and I saw the Premier at the Scera. I can’t understand the need to sensationalize missionary work. It is disheartening to see a sacred time in my life portrayed as an action pact adventure. We learn from the junior who sneaks out to sleep with the girls next door and later slits his wrists, that LDS culture is to judgmental towards those who are less perfect. “My dad said he’d rather see me come home in a Pinewood Box than come home without my honor.”
    I do not plan to see any more films by the Director.

    Posted by Jon Henderson

  6. Oh yeah, Eric Samuelson is such a creative force in LDS cinema. Please! And let’s see, what’s holding The HaleStorm guys back from success? Uh, nothing, they are doing just fine even with Samuelson’s and Snider’s criticsm. Accepting it or not.  

    Posted by Pat

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