The first movie produced by a new faith-based motion picture company hits theaters this weekend and will be looking spark a chain reaction like that witnessed by the movie ministry behind 2008 Box Office surprise "Fireproof."
Debuting in 200 theaters across the country this weekend is "C Me Dance," a film about a teenager who has trained her entire life to dance for the Pittsburgh Ballet but finds out she is dying from a rare blood disease. Not long after her diagnosis, Sheri, played by newcomer Christina DeMarco, finds herself blessed with a supernatural gift – one that the devil will try stop her from using.
This sets up a "thrill ride with tender emotions all the way," as the Dove Foundation, which awarded the movie four out of five "doves," describes it.
"'C Me Dance' is a wonderful and intense movie that needs to be seen," said Don Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association, in his endorsement of the movie. Because the movie contains some "intense content," the AFA recommended the movie for those 13 and older, though the MPAA has given the film a PG rating.
Though "C Me Dance" will likely be only a small blip on the Hollywood screen due to its limited release and small production and marketing budget, the movie's producer, Greg Robbins, who also stars in the film as Sheri's father, is likely hoping to draw enough to build momentum for future films.
That's what the Kendrick brothers of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., did.
Starting with the low-budget film "Flywheel," Alex and Stephen Kendrick worked their way up to "Facing the Giants" and finally to "Fireproof," which had a budget that eclipsed the first movie 25-fold and the second by 5, though still considered small by Hollywood's standards.
Released last year over the Sept. 26-28 weekend, "Fireproof" debuted at No. 4 with $6.5 million in ticket sales, marking the year's second highest grossing opening weekend return of any film released on 1,000 screens or less. It went on earn over $33 million to become the fifth highest grossing Christian film of all time behind "The Nativity Story."
The success of the Kendrick brothers and others in the Christian film industry has been an encouragement to "C Me Dance" producer Robbins, who has worked both in the Christian and secular film industries.
"[T]here are Christians who are making sacrifices to do better quality, to tell better stories, to get better and not say 'Oh, this is good enough,' or 'I'm going to settle for this,'" he noted during a recent interview with Plugged in Online, a publication of Focus on the Family.
"It's so growing," he said of the state of Christian filmmaking.
So for as long as he can, and as long as God wants him to, Robbins says he'll continue to make "better and better and better films, and keep growing and never settling for 'That's good enough.'"
But he also acknowledges that the success of Christian films will also rely on whether or not believers will go out and support them.
"[F]or that Christian who sits in that pew and whines that there's nothing worthwhile on TV or at the movies, get your tail up and go and support better movies. You now have a voice," he said to Plugged In's Paul Asay. "If you don't like it, come and yell at me and tell me to do a better job next time. But we can take a chip out of Hollywood, and tell them we want positive and encouraging entertainment in our living rooms."
"C Me Dance" debuts this weekend in 12 states across the nation including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Robbins describes the movie as a "chick flick with a manifested menacing devil."
"This will attract a wide demo of men and women," he adds.