As Family Films Hit the Big Screen, Christian Moviegoers Send a Message About the Movies they Want
TUPELO, Miss.—It’s not often that a film centered on the power of prayer breaks big box office numbers. But that’s exactly the case with “War Room,” a new movie that tells the story of a marital crisis overcome by prayer. “War Room,” made for just $3 million, has now raked in more than $50 million after capturing the No. 1 spot earlier this month.
And “War Room,” from the creators of “Courageous,” “Fireproof” and “Facing the Giants,” is not alone. An influx of family-friendly, faith-based films is hitting the big screen this fall, including “Captive,” featuring the Emmy-nominated David Oyelowo and Kate Mara. The two star in the faith-based crime drama that opened on Sept. 18, where Oyelowo plays a killer on the run and Mara is his drug-addicted hostage. But underneath the gritty storyline, faith plays a significant role.
Then next month, the football drama “Woodlawn,” starring Academy Award winner Jon Voight and Sean Astin, follows a remarkable true story about how love and unity, fueled by spiritual revival, overcame racism and hate in Alabama in the early 1970s. Opening Oct. 16, the film is already creating buzz.
American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net), which often champions for family-friendly entertainment, says the attention to faith-based films this fall is evidence that Christian moviegoers are sending a message about the kind of entertainment they want to see in Hollywood. AFA adds that these faith-based, “good news” films will have an indelible impact on kids, families and society.
“American Family Association takes on many heavy issues in society, but we like to go to the movies too,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “When entertainment, however, tears down our society and is a negative influence on our kids, we feel we must step in. At the same time, when there are wonderful options for families to watch together, we want to bring these films to the attention of everyone. For decades, the big screen has been dominated by violence, sex, drugs and crime. But this fall, there is a bit of light, and families whose dollars are driven by their values will have some great movie picks this fall. Hopefully, this trend is a glimpse of things to come and our culture will show some evidence of the impact.”
Likewise, AFA’s own film debut, “Summer Snow,” went international this summer, with screenings in several countries around the world, including Spain, Brazil, Germany and Turkey, with interest from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia and more. Released in the summer of 2014 by American Family Studios, a division of AFA, “Summer Snow” saw great success in the theater, on DVD and in its television debut on UPtv.
Starring David Chisum, Cameron Goodman, Garrett Backstrom, Brett Rice and Rachel Eggleston, “Summer Snow” tells the story of 8-year-old Hallie Benson (Eggleston), a small girl with a very big heart. Whether baking cookies for a grumpy neighbor or selling toothbrushes to help a friend, Hallie always thinks of others. Unfortunately, her “creative” ways of helping people often leave her father, Dan (Chisum), with a mess to clean up. Dan struggles to keep it all together after his wife’s death. He doesn’t cook, do hair or know how to help his three children without his beautiful wife and her unshakeable faith in God.
This past weekend at Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., where several AFA representatives were featured speakers and moderators, attendees had the opportunity for a sneak peek of “Woodlawn,” as well as “Beyond the Farthest Star,” which tells the story of a Democratic senator who burns a courthouse nativity and brings the national spotlight to a forgotten Texas town and a once-famous preacher.