October 25, 2005
Left Behind Movie Debuts in Churches(Filed under: Business)
Kirk Cameron and Louis Gossett Jr. star in the third movie in the Left Behind series, World at War, the movie version of the best-selling book series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. World at War came out on DVD Tuesday, but not before opening at more than 3,000 churches across the U.S.
Cloud Ten Pictures, the studio behind the film, opted to open film in churches rather than movie theaters to promote the DVD release. Churches bought public showing licenses that varied in cost depending on their congregation size and had the choice of offering the movie for free or charging admission. Most churches that charged admission donated the money to hurricane relief efforts or local charities.
Christianity Today interviews Producer Peter Lalonde (including details about Lalonde's inspiration from Billy Graham movies) for the full story on the Left Behind movies and the details on the World at War strategy:
Tribulation Force had had a small theatrical and church release, and that's where this church release idea was first born. When we were speaking to churches about Tribulation Force, I realized how desperately we needed the return to the "church film nights" of the early '80s. I sensed a hunger there. I also began to see the exploding technology in the churches that made it possible.
Doing something new for the sake of it being new is seldom worthwhile. But spotting an open door—an opportunity—and doing something new, something that makes sense, captures people's imaginations. There is this mystique about a theatrical release, but the fact is that most films lose millions—and most Christian films open on so few screens as to serve no real purpose. We are not trying to "go Hollywood." We make soul-winning movies.
Posted by kevin at October 25, 2005 3:06 PM
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As someone who was scarred as a child by those wretched Thief in the Night movies, I had hoped churches had gotten passed using mediocre Rapture flicks to scare people into the Kingdom. Leave it to Cloud Ten and a few washed-up actors to prove me wrong.
Posted by: dave at October 26, 2005 8:35 AM