The new film from the Kendrick Brothers held its own against theory movies, on fewer screens, for the opening weekend. $11 Million earnings for the weekend was more than double the estimated amount, proving once again that there is an audience for faith based films.
Noah and Exodus notwithstanding, religious people will shell out their hard earned cash to go see films that affirm (Pun intended… Affirm Films put out war Room) their faith. For a budget of $3 Million, War Room will turn a tidy profit for Sony. And that;s one thing that will keep these kinds of films coming, profit for the companies. I used to hear that Hollywood wasn’t open to movies about faith, but if there is money in it, they are open to movies about anything.
Not everyone loved War Room, Christianity Today’s review took them to task on writing quality:
“But when it comes to screenplay writing, the genre seems stuck in a rut. It’s more committed to heavy-handed providential plotting than imaginative explorations of character or setting.”
There’s no doubt that religious filmmaking has a ways to go in terms of craft. But we have made progress. And, for all of it’s “heavy handedness” War Room resonates with the target audience, Christian women. My own church already has a War Room inspired women’s Bible study scheduled. And the overall message about prayer is solid and needed in most Christian families.
because of the success of films like these, we have seen, and are seeing more films dealing with faith and biblical subjects. Early next year we will see two more, larger budget movies:
MGM is re-booting Ben Hur, due out in February of 2016.
Sony/Affirm has another biblical epic coming out in January, 2016: Risen
It’s an interesting story idea. I’m hopeful.
When the Kendrick’s made their first movie Flywheel, I doubt they knew what they were starting. Churches and filmmakers can do films that will reach a much wider audience than they might have before this. And studios are more open than ever to tapping into the religious market. That has the possibility of helping Christian filmmakers disciple more and share the Gospel more than ever before.