“Son of God” is not a big special effects blockbuster and boasts no big movie stars (if there really is such a thing anymore). In fact, it is just one of a handful Christian-themed films hitting theatres this year. But the big-budget tent-poles starring the likes of Russell Crowe and Christian Bale aren’t enjoying a tenth the Christian enthusiasm and financial support already surrounding “Son of God.”
Fresh from “The Bible,” a miniseries that broke ratings and DVD sales records, husband and wife producing team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are giving Hollywood quite a lesson in the art of goodwill, something the moguls that built Hollywood knew all too well.
Church groups are seeking to take over entire theaters for opening night screenings of Son of God, the upcoming movie about the life of Jesus Christ.
Various religious organizations throughout the country have been buying out screens and distributing tickets to groups of thousands of people for “Theater Take-Overs” on Thursday, Feb. 27, the night before the film’s officially released, according to production company Lightworkers Media.
Crossroads Church in Cincinnati is bringing thousands of people to a Cinemark theater, where Son of God will be showing on 13 screens at the same time.
Christians trust Burnett and Downy. Mainstream Hollywood, not so much.
After decades of ridiculing, stereotyping, and attempting to marginalize us as everything they are (intolerant, bossy, bigoted, and just plain mean) we just aren’t going to drop our guard and get suckered in the naïve belief Hollywood suddenly discovered moral literacy. Besides, special effects, gajillions of dollars, and the admittedly impressive pedigrees of directors Ridley Scott and Darren Oronofsky are not what Christians are looking for.
With “The Bible,” however, and their personal example, Burnett and Downy have earned the trust and goodwill of more than enough Christians to turn any theatrical film into a box office hit. And when you are enormously talented, treat us with respect, and seek to inspire with what is beautiful about our faith, we will come — in droves.
Our church bought out every screen in the theater,” Crossroads’ Brian Wells said in a statement. If anyone comes to the theater to see another movie that night, they’ll be out of luck, unless we have a few extra tickets to give them!”
There are a few other theater buyouts for Son of God scheduled at Cinemark locations throughout the country, according to the theater chain’s marketing and communications head James Meredith.
“It’s very interesting to see this level of excitement around the movie,” Meredith said in a statement. “The interest level for meetings, events, screenings and buyouts seems to be on par with that of major blockbuster, tentpole or franchise movies.”
Mega-church pastor Rick Warren is buying out screens in eight different theaters throughout Orange County.
Meanwhile we are reading that “Noah” is a preach about overpopulation — which is not only a phony crisis but about as anti-Christian as it gets.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC