The secular media called 2014 “The Year of Bible Films” and 2015 has already seen a number of Christian films in the theaters. Films such as “Unbroken,” “Patterns of Evidence: Exodus,” “The Drop Box,” “Old Fashioned,” “Little Boy,” “Do You Believe?,” “Where Hope Grows,” and “Beyond the Mask” have already impacted many lives. Most of these are now available via streaming, on DVD for sale or rent, and for church-licensed showings. But this year still has much more to offer us in the way of faith-based films. During August, September and October, many theaters across the country will be invaded by the light of the gospel via four powerful and widely distributed Christian films. We have an opportunity through these films to inspire and encourage. These films are also great outreaches to help reach the unchurched. Many people who might be hesitant to come to church might accept an invitation to see a movie. And these movies will leave many people more eager to hear about the things of God.
Here are the movies currently scheduled to open during the next few months. These films are regular releases that will play one or more weeks in numerous theaters. Check the movie websites in advance for trailers, theater listings, and other information.
“War Room” (starts 8/28/15)
This new film from the Kendrick brothers (“Facing the Giants,” “Fireproof,” “Courageous”) touches many spiritual topics. However, the central theme is about an older woman mentoring a younger woman, whose marriage is crumbling, on effective praying. Many who have screened the film feel this is the best film from Kendrick brothers and continues their track record of movies full of deeply moving spiritual messages designed to change lives. This powerful film will re-energize the prayer life of many believers but also contains solid messages for everyone. warroommovie.com
“90 Minutes in Heaven” (starts 9/11/15)
Based on the best-selling book (over 7 million copies sold), this film tells the story of Pastor Don Piper, who was killed in a tragic car crash and was declared dead by officials on the scene for 90 minutes until another pastor came and prayed for him. Although Don revived, his recovery from the multiple injuries was long and hard. The perseverance through that trial and Don’s description of what he saw of heaven when his body lay dead make for a very intense and moving film with stirring performances by Hayden Christenson (“Star Wars: Episodes II & III”) and Kate Bosworth (“Superman Returns”). 90minutesinheaventhemovie.com
“Captive” (starts 9/18/15)
From Paramount Pictures, “Captive” is based on the miraculous true story that drew national attention about an escaped murderer on the run who takes a recovering addict hostage in her own apartment. Both of their lives are then dramatically changed through Rick Warren’s best-selling inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life. Features Kate Mara (“Fantastic Four”), David Oyelowo (“Selma”) and Michael Kenneth Williams (“12 Years a Slave”). captivethemovie.com
“Woodlawn” (starts 10/16/15)
This movie tells the incredible true story of revival breaking out at the Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Alabama, during the Jesus movement in the early 1970s in the midst of hate and racism. A key player on the high school football team is none other than Tony Nathan, who later became a running back for the Miami Dolphins. Written and directed by the Erwin Brothers (“October Baby,” “Moms’ Night Out”) it features Sean Austin (“Do You Believe?,” “Lord of the Rings”) and Jon Voight (“National Treasure,” “Holes,” “Deliverance”). woodlawnmovie.com
All of these films are well worth seeing and supporting. Each is unique and will impact people in a different way.
Ways to support these and other Christian films
Much prayer and work went into the making of these films and now it is our turn to step up to pray and act. The challenge before us is to rally behind these films and support them in the theaters. With a small effort –each doing his part – these films can fulfill the enormous life-changing potential they possess and be used to touch many in our communities.
Here are some ways to help:
This cannot be emphasized enough. Any successful ministry has effective prayer behind the scenes and it is the same with these movies. Please pray and ask others to pray and even fast for lives to be touched through these films.
Help spread the word
Most of these movies do not have the resources for the kind of ad campaigns that typically accompany the secular Hollywood films. But we as believers can help by spreading the word in various ways such as via social media, fliers, posters, church bulletins, etc. One of the ways I share about these films is through my Christian movie Facebook page facebook.com/LightinDarkPlace. I encourage you to go to the page, LIKE it and invite your friends to LIKE it as well. You can also LIKE the Facebook pages associated with the films and share the posts with others.
See the film on opening weekend and organize a group to attend
It is extremely important for these films to do well opening weekend or some will be in theaters only one week. Opening weekend holds the greatest potential for a film to place in the Box Office Top 10 resulting in substantial free publicity. Feel free to contact me for suggestions on organizing groups from your church or organization and for info on obtaining group discount tickets.
Purchase tickets as early as possible
This is more important than people realize. Successful early ticket purchases can expand a film’s release to additional theaters. Early ticket sales will also show a theater that there is sufficient interest to show the film in a large auditorium.
To receive notices about upcoming releases, advanced leaders’ screenings, discount tickets and more, email your contact info to Stanley at [email protected] to be added to a Christian movie email list. For more information, visit facebook.com/LightinDarkPlace or Twitter @LightDarkPlace.
Stanley Goldenberg has been involved in grassroots promotion of Christian films for almost 10 years. He also hosts a regular “Movie Connection” show on LIFE-FM (90.9 FM) in Miami.