Tinseltown and Christian Americans

I was listening to American Family Radio yesterday.  One of their hosts was on, stating the obvious fact that American Christianity has been under attack during the present Administration.

He and a Congressman from Houston had been talking about last summer’s dust-up at the 3rd largest Veterans Cemetary in America, where the VA had attempted to ban  Christian Services there and all mention of Christ.

Here is a report from foxnews.com about the controversy, posted 6/30/11:

Veterans in Houston say the Department of Veterans Affairs is consistently censoring their prayers by banning them from saying the words “God” and “Jesus” during funeral services at Houston National Cemetery.

Three organizations — the Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion and the National Memorial Ladies — allege that the cemetery’s director and other government officials have created “religious hostility” at the cemetery and are violating the First Amendment. According to court documents filed this week in federal court, the cemetery’s director, Arleen Ocasio, has banned saying “God” at funerals and requires prayers be submitted in advance for government approval, MyFoxHouston.com reports.

“People are doing things out there that I feel like they shouldn’t be,” Vietnam veteran Jim Rodgers told the website.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said in a statement that it “respects every veteran and their family’s right to burial service that honors their faith tradition.” The department employs nearly 1,000 chaplains who preside over religious burials, according to the statement.

The matter was settled quietly, and Christian Services were once again allowed at Houston National Cemetary.

Some of my most popular blogs recently have been about the fight going on in this God-given land between a vocal minority of non-believers who seem to want to make everyone as miserable as they are, and Christian Americans, who are fighting back.

And the battle is even taking place in the American Movie Industry.

Hollywood Reporter.com  recently ran the following story:

Before the filmmakers for Sherwood Pictures shot the first frame of Courageous, they prayed. It’s right there in the press materials. They did the same thing with Sherwood’s previous theatrical releases, Facing the Giants in 2006 and Fireproof in 2008. None of these Christian-themed movies is up to Hollywood production standards, though by one metric — box office compared to budget — they’re some of the most profitable films in modern history.

While Iron Man 2 and Thor earned three times their production budgets, Giants was made for $100,000 and took in $10.2 million domestically, 102 times its budget. Fireproof cost $500,000 but earned $33.5 million, a multiple of 67 on its budget, and Courageous, made for $2 million, earned eight times that in its first 10 days. It bowed No. 4 at the box office with$9.1 million from 1,161 theaters.

It seems Sherwood — a company few in Hollywood have even heard of — has discovered the secret for making films on a shoestring that people will line up to see in theaters. Maybe it’s all that praying.

Sherwood Pictures is “the moviemaking ministry” of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., which spans 130 acres. While it serves 3,000 congregants from a dozen nations, its message — “passion for Christ and compassion for all” — reaches millions more through TV and radio broadcasts and its film entity, which launched in 2003 with Flywheel, a movie produced for $20,000 that sold 350,000 DVDs. Since then, Sherwood has struck distribution and marketing deals with two units of Sony Pictures: Affirm Films and Provident Films.

Sherwood’s films are similarly themed. Courageous is about cops who fear they might fail as fathers without help from Christ. With Fireproof, which starred Kirk Cameron, it was men seeking help to become better husbands, and with Giants and Flywheel, it was men seeking help in their professional lives. The movies have progressed from amateurish to critical successes.

However, as Al Jolson said in the first Talkie: “Waitaminute…waitaminute…you ain’t seen nothing…yet!”

With half a dozen film projects derived from classic Bible stories in development, it would seem that Hollywood has (amen!) found God. Not since the 1950s, when Paramount and Cecil B. de Mille trotted out a handful of Old Testament tales, has there been so much Good Book on the books. Paramount and New Regency are building the big-budget Noah with Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky; Relativity has Goliath in the works with director Scott Derrickson; Warner Bros. has its controversial Judah Maccabee/Hannukkah movie with Mel Gibson producing (that film is competing with another Maccabee project); Steven Spielberg is considering directing Gods and Kings, a Moses story; and an adaptation of John Milton’s Paradise Lost starring Bradley Cooper as Lucifer is aiming for a January shoot. It’s a veritable flood.

“’What are those things that have huge pre-awareness that are huge spectacles that you can exploit our contemporary filmmaking abilities to do even bigger?’” says Goliath producer Wyck Godfrey, who saw comic-book, video-game and fairy-tale cycles running their course. “We’ve spent our entire lives hearing sports analogies of David versus Goliath. Well, before every David and Goliath story there was David and Goliath. That’s how I sold it.”

What a concept.  Family-friendly movies, based on the Old Testament, aimed at attracting the 75%  majority of Americans who proclaim Christ as their Savior.

Why, next thing you’ll be telling me is that a well-known Hollywood actor will produce a movie about the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which will stay in release for 156 days and bring in a worldwide box office gross of  over $600 million.

Oh, wait…

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One Response to Tinseltown and Christian Americans

  1. NeverGiveUp says:

    So glad you posted this. I was planning on seeing Courageous and had heard of Fireproof as well but am now happy to hear of the others. Great info. Thanks again.