2014: The Year Bible-Based Movies Make a Comeback

2014: The Year Bible-Based Movies Make a Comeback

The upcoming movie year will feature much more of the same–superheroes, Katniss Everdeen and a new chapter in the Paranormal Activity franchise.

The next 12 months also promise something new by modern Hollywood standards. Expect several big-budget, star-studded films featuring Biblical characters and themes.

Mary Mother of Christ, whose title character will be played by Odeya Rush, a 16-year-old Israeli-born actress, is one of a series of unashamedly Christian biblical epics due to appear next year, marking an unprecedented overture by Hollywood to America’s evangelical heartland.

Studio executives who have spent the past few years releasing superhero and zombie films have, it seems, had an epiphany. Now their new best friends are evangelical pastors whose endorsements they actively seek, even inviting them on to sets during production. Pastors in turn play clips from films of which they approve to 10,000-strong congregations on 40-ft wide movie screens.

The Biblical boom comes with an Ark-sized asterisk. Will the filmmakers respect the source material or use it to push standard Hollywood memes? Consider Noah director Darren Aronofsky’s description of his title character as the world’s first environmentalist.

The uneasy relationship between spiritual figures and Hollywood could dissolve should one or more of the movies in play talk down to their audience. Or, much worse, insult the very faith they seek to honor on the big screen.