A modern-day version of the Prodigal Son story made its theatrical debut this past weekend, showing in 109 theaters in 33 cities across the nation.
Though the $190 thousand that "Preacher's Kid" grossed in its opening weekend is not much by Hollywood's standards, the net gross from the film's opening night will take on greater value as 100 percent of it is channeled into the relief efforts of charities including Smile of a Child, Friend Ships, and Samaritan's Purse, which are working to help the people of quake-devastated Haiti.
Gener8Xion Entertainment CEO and Founder Matthew Crouch committed to donating the opening night's net proceeds to relief efforts in Haiti after being "struck … particularly deep" by news of the devastation caused by the Jan. 12 quake.
"My family has shared a long-time love for the people of Haiti," said Crouch, whose parents are Paul and Jan Crouch, founders of the Trinity Broadcasting Network.
"Having made numerous trips there over the years as my mother funded a hospital and supported an orphanage, it's touched our hearts to see how the world has stepped forward to give so generously to the relief efforts," he added.
So for Crouch, who first visited Haiti in 1976 at the age of 15, the commitment to donate the opening night net gross of "Preacher's Kid" was simply a natural outgrowth of his decades-long relationship with the country.
"We conceived this as a wonderful opportunity to keep attention focused on a tragic situation as well as give people a way to utilize something they'd ordinarily be doing – going to a movie Friday night – to be a blessing to the Haitian people," he stated.
Since the Haiti's 7.0-magnitude quake struck its capital city and surrounding areas last month, at least 150,000 people have been reported dead. Some one million, meanwhile, have been made homeless.
Though Crouch acknowledged ahead of the release of "Preacher's Kid" that the amount that Gene8Xion Entertainment will donate "could be a little or it could be a lot," given that it depends on how many people see the movie and the fact that theaters keep up to 60 percent of ticket sales, Crouch said he believes it will make a difference.
"We're obviously praying for a lot," he wrote in a blog entry the day of his movie's opening.
But for the first time, Crouch added, "it has nothing to do with making a dent in the box office charts."
"Rather, we see this as giving people a way to utilize something they'd ordinarily be doing on a Friday night – going to a movie – to be another means of blessing to the Haitian people," he stated.
Though it has yet to report the final donation figure based on Friday's outcome, Gener8Xion estimated that one third of the cost of each ticket sold will likely being sent directly to provide immediate relief to Haiti.
"Preacher's Kid," which stars former Destiny's Child member LeToya Luckett, tells the story of a 20-something daughter of a minister who – longing to experience more of life, and with dreams of fame and fortune – strikes out on her own for the very first time, joining a traveling gospel show.
Though enthused in the beginning, Luckett's character, Angie King, soon discovers that life on the road is tough. What's more, she fears going home with nothing to show for it, or worse, that her father may no longer love her.
"[T]he film is something of a modern day version of the Biblical parable of the 'Prodigal Son,' a story ultimately about restoration and the rebuilding of a life that had been left to ruin," say promoters of the movie.
The movie debuted in cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Philadelphia,Phoenix, Washington, and Seattle, among others.
"Preacher's Kids" was written and directed by Stan Foster ("Woman Thou Art Loosed"), was produced by Sharif Atkins ("White Collar"), and stars recording artist Tank, Grammy-nominated R&B crooner Trey Songz, Greg Alan Williams ("Remember the Titans", "Baywatch"), Essence Atkins ("Half & Half", "Are We There Yet?"), EMI gospel artist Kierra "KiKi" Sheard, veteran actor Clifton Powell and Tammy Townsend ("Sherri").
Other films produced by Gener8Xion Entertainment include "The Cross: The Arthur Blessitt Story," "Noelle," and "One Night With the King." "One Night With the King," the company's highest grossing film, sold more than $13 million in tickets over the course of eight weeks in 2006.