That could change.
Increasingly, major studios appear to be taking a leap for faith-based audiences with biblical epics such as "Noah" starring
At one point in April, there were four faith-based movies in the Top 20 at the box office, including "Heaven Is for Real," about a 4-year-old boy's account of his trip to heaven. It has grossed more than
The Kendrick brothers — who just wrapped up filming their fifth project — are making movies that could see wider release as distributors pay attention to the box office trends in the traditional Bible Belt and beyond.
Their latest film, which has yet to have a title, centers on a family realizing the power of prayer.
"The point is not racing to see how many movies we can produce," said
The Kendricks began with a tiny production company with their pastor at
In previous movies, the brothers mostly used volunteers from their church though one of their more popular movies, "Fireproof," did include
"The people we've gotten to meet who have expertise in areas that we have needed help have come to the table," said
The Kendricks — both ministers who sport salt-and-pepper beards — grew up in suburban
With a budget of
"That was what I would call the dawning of the new era of independent Christian films," said
"Courageous," a film about fatherhood, was released in 2011 and made more than
Box office expert
"But the success of those films probably influenced filmmakers, studios, producers, distributors, to look at this genre as a viable, potentially money-making genre," said Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker
Faith-based entertainment is not new territory. The Bible alone has spawned dozens of films dating back to the 1920s and
While the Kendricks have found success, they're still in the shadows of faith-centric blockbusters like "Noah," which was released in March and has made more than
However, the Kendricks and others like them have been able to move their lower-budget faith-based films from limited theaters to wider release mainly through a grassroots approach more reminiscent of community theater. It's this type of fan base growth, which brings in millions in revenue, that has gotten the attention of major studios.
"What people must understand is that
The Kendricks' marketing strategy, in particular, has become sort of a blueprint for other Christian filmmakers over the years. It involves pre-release screenings for community church leaders, who are encouraged to spread the word about the film.
"Which is accelerated because of social media," said
Whatever the case, the success of such movies is likely to command the attention of major studios for quite a while.
"When we have films that represent our beliefs ... (and) to be able to have more options of those types of films in the marketplace; it's certainly speaking to
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