Many of us have complained about the worldly Hollywood movies. But as the saying goes, “It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” The year of 2014 experienced a record number of faith-based (i.e., Bible-based, Christian) films in theaters, many of which delivered powerful, life-changing messages — truly “lights in a dark place.” Even Hollywood and the secular press called 2014 the “Year of the Bible films.” Many of these films were successful at the box office such as “Son of God” (budget $22M, gross $60M), “God’s Not Dead” (budget $2M, gross $61M), “Noah” (budget $125M, gross $101M — a distorted Hollywood production), “Heaven is for Real” (budget $12M, gross $91M), and “Mom’s Night Out” (budget $5M, gross $10M). Other faith-based films included “Gimme Shelter,” “Alone Yet Not Alone,” “Persecuted,” “A Long Way Off,” “When The Game Stands Tall,” “The Song,” “The Identical,” “Left Behind,” “The Good Lie,” “23 Blast,” “A Matter of Faith” and more!
As believers support these films, more will be made. These films touched the unchurched and also inspired believers. Each film was unique in its message and impact. Even after leaving the theaters, these films continued to touch lives through their DVD releases. Many used these films – in the theater and after their DVD releases – as ministry tools.
Ways to support Christian films
Each of us can do our part to support these films, working in unity to touch lives in our communities. Here are some ways to help:
• Help spread the word via social media, fliers or by word of mouth.
• Go on opening weekend and try to organize a group (large or small) to attend. It is extremely important for these films to do well opening weekend!
• Purchase tickets as early as possible. Early ticket purchases can expand the release.
Although a few of the Christian films open in a large number of theaters, most will not come to a particular area without local grass-roots efforts to commit to purchasing tickets for opening weekend. My own involvement with grass-roots promotions of these films started with helping to bring “Facing the Giants” (2006) to Miami by organizing support from local churches. Most of the official websites include a link for those interested in helping to bring that movie to their area. Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few” (Matt. 9:37b) If you would like to stay informed or help spread the word on upcoming films, visit my Facebook page at facebook.com/LightinDarkPlace. Like it and invite your friends to do so too. Here are a few anticipated movies.
Regular releases will play at least one week. Not all of these are scheduled to open in South Florida, but you can often check the websites for information on bringing a movie to your community.
“Exodus: Gods and Kings” (12/12/14)
This depicts the story of the Exodus from Egypt. The extravaganza is directed by Ridley Scott with Christian Bale starring as Moses. This is a Hollywood-produced blockbuster that takes liberties with the Biblical narrative, so proceed with caution. Let’s hope it’s not as distorted as “Noah.”
Based on the true story of Olympic and war hero Louis Zamperini who survived in a raft after a plane crash in WWII only to be caught by the Japanese and sent to a POW camp. Unlike the book, the movie does not cover his dramatic Christian salvation experience. But hopefully the film will motivate people to read the book.
“Patterns of Evidence: Exodus” (1/20/15)
An in-depth investigation by a documentary filmmaker, it explores the historical validity of the Exodus out of Egypt.
“Undivided” (1-night event 1/29/15)
The true story of how a suburban church unites with at-risk, failing Roosevelt High School creating a transformation for students, the school and the volunteers.
“A Matter of Faith” (2/6/15)
A girl is influenced by her college professor to embrace evolution, and her father does something about it. From Rich Christiano
(“Secrets of Jonathan Sperry,” “Time Changers”). Released in 2014, it will add other cities in 2015. amatteroffaithmovie.com
“Old Fashioned” (2/13/15)
A former frat boy, who gave up his reckless carousing to follow God, and a free-spirited young
woman together attempt an “old-fashioned” and God-honoring courtship in contemporary America.
“Little Boy” (2/27/15)
A young American boy struggles to bring his father back from World War II.
“Do You Believe?” (Spring 2015)
From the makers of “God’s Not Dead,” a local pastor is shaken by the visible faith of an old street-corner preacher and reminded that true belief always requires action. Cast includes Sean Austin, Cybill Shepherd and Lee Majors.
“Hillsong: Let Hope Rise” (4/1/15)
This is a concert documentary about the rise of Australia-based Christian band Hillsong United.
“A.D.” (TV series – starts 4/5/15)
Dramatizing the first 10 chapters of the Book of Acts, this is from Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, producers of “The Bible” and “Son of God.”
A pro baseball player who retires due to his panic attacks sleepwalks through his days until his life is awakened by Produce, a kid with Down syndrome.
untitled (sometime in 2015?)
This latest film by the Kendrick Brothers (“Facing the Giants” and “Fireproof”) follows a family as they struggle through personal, marital and spiritual issues.
(sometime in 2015?)
A creation-science film in high-quality CGI 3-D animation, the producers have posted sample scenes on their website.
“Mary” (sometime in 2015?)
The life of Mary is followed from her youth to her struggles as a young mother caring for her child, Jesus.
See pluggedin.com for family-friendly movie reviews. For notices about upcoming releases, email your contact info to [email protected] to be added to a Christian movie email list including advanced screenings, discount tickets and more. You can also go to the official movie websites or Facebook pages to sign up for updates.