A campaign by Pastor Matthew Hagee to steer people away from watching the Oscars on TV and encourage them to see "Son of God" was largely responsible for a first place finish at the box office on Sunday, according to a Hollywood insider, even though the movie placed second behind "Non-Stop" for total ticket sales over the weekend.
Hagee, who partners with his father, Pastor John Hagee, to lead the 19,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, took to Twitter on Saturday evening to express his sentiments about how families should be spending their Sunday evening.
The new film "Son of God," a Jesus-focused adaptation of last year's miniseries "The Bible," earned $26.5 million in a second place win at the box office this past weekend. Christian reviewers celebrated the success, calling it a "miracle," but warned that it will not suddenly convert Hollywood.
"Son of God brought in 26 million dollars in its first week – that's a miracle!" declared Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture for the Media Research Center. Gainor praised the efforts of Director Roma Downey, but emphasized that even this big success will likely fail to "wake Hollywood up" to the massive opportunity in more faith-centered films.
Chris Stone, founder of online Christian community Faith Driven Consumer, claimed the success of "Son of God" as proof of the viability of entertainment targeted to a faith audience. "We consider it a proof point that Hollywood can make money with a product that appeals to faith-driven consumers," Stone declared. more >>
Paula Patton may be opening up about her separation from Robin Thicke on Instagram.
Robin Thicke, the 36-year-old singer, and Patton, the 38-year-old actress announced their split Monday after 8 years of marriage and more than 20 years together. However, Thicke is publicly insisting that he is not walking away easily.
"Everything happens for a reason," Patton posted on her Instagram in a series of picture messages. "If you love something let it go, if it comes back it's yours, if it doesn't, it was and it's not meant to be." more >>
In response to the controversy about the forthcoming blockbuster "Noah," Paramount Pictures has released a disclaimer that the film, while it accurately presents the biblical themes, has taken some license in storytelling.
"While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide," declares the statement, which will be presented in all future marketing materials. It closes by directing viewers to the biblical story found in Genesis.
This move follows an appeal from Jerry A. Johnson, president and CEO of The National Religious Broadcasters. "People may assume that this film is a straightforward retelling of the biblical Noah narrative – The movie trailer might lead them to believe that as well," Johnson wrote to The Christian Post in a Friday statement. "It is not. It is instead a dramatic story based upon Noah that contains a lot of extra-biblical material," the NRB president explained. more >>
Producer Mark Burnett predicts that "a billion" people will see his new film "Son of God," which opens in theaters today.
Burnett, who co-produced the film with his wife Roma Downey, told TheWrap in a recent interview that he is confident in the film's long-term success. "This movie is going to be seen by a billion people over the next three or four years, so a big opening would be great, but this is very much a long-term proposition."
Burnett and his wife have visited numerous churches across the U.S. in an effort to sell out movie theaters for screenings ahead of the film's official release on Friday. Their efforts seem to have worked, as influential evangelical leaders including Mark Driscoll, T.D. Jakes and Rick Warren have bought out entire theaters to prescreen the film. more >>
The forthcoming film "Noah" has been criticized by some for altering the biblical story, but other Christians who have seen the film praised it and urged the Christian community to support this Bible story on screen.
"The primary message that comes out of the film is the depravity of man and the judgment of God," Dr. Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film and Television Coalition and editor-in-chief of Movieguide, told The Christian Post in an interview on Wednesday. Baehr explained that the filmmakers added new characters, but "none of that takes away from the spine of the story."
Producer and filmmaker Phil Cooke, founder and chief executive officer of Cooke Pictures, argued that Christians should praise Hollywood for making a movie about the Bible. "There are hundreds of dedicated Christians working inside Hollywood," Cooke explained, "and every time we do a petition drive, a boycott, or a protest, it compromises what they're doing." He argued that Christians should "stop viewing Hollywood as an enemy and start viewing them as a mission field." more >>