The majority of the world resonates with a specific faith. Regardless if it’s the same or not, everyone appreciates and recognizes the aspect of faith and spirituality. While most of the entertainment world, in earlier years, strayed away from religious films and television now surprisingly in recent years faith has become the spotlight for major motion films and media.
God, angels and miracles have become the subject of Blockbuster films. In 2004, Mel Gibson took a leap of faith and directed The Passion of the Christ which became an epic biblical drama film that set the bar for future faith films. The film covered primarily the final 12 hours of Jesus’ life, beginning with the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, the insomnia and the grieving of the Virgin Mary. The film grossed over $600 million during its theatrical release and became the highest grossing R-rated film in United States history, the highest grossing religious film, and the highest grossing non-English language film of all time. Even though the film served to be quite controversial, the success proved that faith films could and would be here to stay.
Other films like Heaven is for Real, War Room, God’s Not Dead and Fireproof symbolize the power of faith. The world celebrates belief and the faith aspect of living through the ground breaking box office and DVD sales. People want to watch movies that are relatable and tell stories that inspire and change lives. Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak told TheWrap.com, “These movies aren’t aimed at the critics. Faith-based movies are preaching to the converted, literally. That’s what they do and they serve an important purpose in that, for years and years, those audiences have felt that Hollywood was leaving them out, and not making movies for them.”
Therefore many independently owned production companies have embraced faith-based films and their low budgets. And because Christians have a desire for faith-based films, they have not shied away from supporting the movies. In fact, many low budget faith films target the grassroots by directing PR and other advertising methods towards church-based marketing campaigns that relate to the average person. Sony’s distribution chief Rory Bruer told TheWrap.com, “Faith-based audiences are smart about these movies delivering what they want to see. They know what they’re looking for and a critic’s opinion isn’t going to sway them. In today’s world of social media, audiences have a good handle on what a movie is about, and whether it’s for them or not.”
In 2016, most of the upcoming films and media are in fact centered on faith. Jennifer Garner’s film Miracles from Heaven broke Sony’s history by receiving 132 million trailer views on its day. Miracles From Heaven tells the true story of the Beam family, who saw one of their younger members, Christy, ailing from a mysterious illness. With hope running out, and her family’s faith being tested, her condition is eventually cured by what was deemed as a fatal injury. Everyone questions whether Christy’s illness was legitimate or not because her recovery time was so short. The miracle of her healing is the main topic within the film.
Other faith films to release in 2016 include Dolly Parton’s TV biopic the Coat of Many Colors, Risen, The Young Messiah, God’s Not Dead 2, Ben Hur, The Passion Live and several other notable films.
Fox and Dick Clark Productions are set to feature The Passion Live on Psalm Sunday. The Passion will be a two-hour musical event that will air live in New Orleans. The show will be narrated by Tyler Perry and will tell the story of the last hours of Jesus Christ. Music producer Adam Anders has arranged popular tunes to help re-tell Jesus’ story. Singing the revitalized tunes will be Chris Daughtry, Yolanda Adams, Trisha Yearwood, Michael W. Smith and many many other musical greats.
There’s no doubt that 2016 will definitely serve as a platform and forum for the continuing success of faith-based entertainment.