South African movie goers are in for a rare flurry of major, faith-based feature films. Darren Aronofsky’s controversial ‘Noah’ opened on April 4. Next in line, launching on April 17, is ‘Son of God’ produced by “Touched by an Angel’s” Roma Downey and mega-hit TV producer Mark Burnett of “Survivor” fame. “Heaven is for Real”, based on a little boy’s astounding testimony of his trip to heaven and back opens on May 9.
Describing 2014 as a “banner year” for faith-based films, Paul Lauer, founder and CEO of Motive Entertainment, the leading US film marketing firm for reaching Christian audiences, believes this year’s faith-based movies, which are doing exceptionally well in the box office, will have a profound influence on Hollywood, reports the Daily Beast.
“As each of these films achieves a measure of success I think more and more filmmakers and studios and distributors and financiers and actors and directors and everybody will say ‘this could be a rewarding area to get into’,” Lauer says.
He speculates that the films’ success could have implications in Hollywood beyond the box office. “I think the other thing that will happen [is] there are people of faith all throughout Hollywood who already work in studios as directors and producers and writers and many of them are excited about working on movies like this now that it’s OK to do so,” he said. “It’s almost like we’re having a coming out of the closet for people of faith in the community. And as that happens we’ll get [an] even more organic growth of faith-based and inspirational movies coming from people that are already embedded in the system, like Mark and Roma.”
Noah is currently the second biggest earning movie in the US in April, raking in more than $72 million in two weeks, according to the International Business Times. A surprising success in the top 5 box office performers for April is the low budget “God’s Note Dead” which is said to have garnered more than $32 in earnings in the first week of April. It is not clear whether this film about a Christian student, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), who is challenged by his smug philosphy professor to prove the existence of God, will reach SA.
The epic, standalone, “Son of God” movie grew out of the History Channel’s miniseries, “The Bible,” 2013’s highest-rated cable show in the US. It has been screened in 3 000 plus theatres all over the US. It is the first motion picture about Jesus’ life since Passion of the Christ, released ten years ago.
Heaven Is for Real releases in the US on April 16 and is based on the 2010 bestseller book of the same name about the true story of Colton Burpo, who visited heaven after slipping from consciousness during emergency surgery. The book is experiencing a revival of sorts, having returned to the No. 1 spot on the New York Times Paperback Nonfiction list, reports Charisma News.
Another big Christian-themed movie release in the pipeline for 2014 is Ridley Scott’s “Exodus:Gods and Kings” which is an account of Moses’ hand in leading the Israelite slaves out of Egypt.
View Son of God trailer: