Cloud Ten Pictures plans on remaking the "Left Behind" movie series into a big-budget, wide theatrical release.
After years of dispute over the rights of the movies, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, authors of the popular books, have finally allowed Cloud Ten Pictures – a Christian film company based in Ontario and New York – to make a Hollywood version of the New York Times bestseller series.
LaHaye had filed a lawsuit against Namesake Entertainment and Cloud Ten Pictures in 1999, claiming the producers made a lower quality film than the contract demanded. The author was also dissatisfied with the film company's decision to release the first installment of the film series on home video through mainly Christian outlets when he wanted a wider reach.
As reported by Christian Cinema, LaHaye said, "My dream has always been to enter the movie theater with a first-class, high-quality movie that is grippingly interesting, but also is true to the biblical storyline – and that was diluted in the first attempt, but Lord willing, we are going to see this thing made into the movie that it should be."
After the release of three films – "Left Behind: The Movie," "Left Behind II: Tribulation Force," and "Left Behind: World at War" – Cloud Ten optioned film rights back to the authors in 2008 and put the development of the next film on hold. That agreement granted LaHaye an opportunity to remake the films. The rights to the "Left Behind" film series were officially restored to Cloud Ten Pictures in October.
According to André van Heerden , president of Film and Television Production at Cloud Ten Pictures, one of the reasons they chose to do a remake of the series is because they felt that it needed to truly bring visual justice to some of the most important parts of the book that they couldn't portray with a $4 million dollar budget with the original films.
"There were certain things that if we had more money we would've made it differently," he explained. "There were certain story lines that we would've made bigger and more exciting."
Van Heerden noted that he is very proud of the original films, which sold over 10 million copies worldwide. But he said the story could have a bigger impact "as a bigger-budget, end-times thriller on the big screen."
And he's not worried about the competition – namely the Hollywood end-times movies that were recently released, including "2012." He stressed that the "Left Behind" remake offers viewers more than an "entertaining side."
"You are drawing a very startling and exciting and scary picture in some ways but at the same time it's founded in truth ... It's based on the Bible, based on good vs. evil," he commented.
There have been no announcements on the casting or the film location for the movie but they plan on remaking all three original versions of the film which starred actor Kirk Cameron. This time they plan on using Christian and non-Christian actors alike for the lead roles of the film.
When asked about bringing back the original cast of the previous films, including Cameron and Brad Johnson, Van Heerden said that they would only do so if it had been the fourth installment of the series.
Cloud Ten Pictures aims to be in production in late 2011.
"We're extremely excited about reaching a whole new generation with literally one of the biggest stories," said Van Heerden.