Posted on Sunday, September 28th, 2008 by Peter Sciretta
The big surprise this weekend at the box office was a small budget ($500,000) limited release called Fireproof, which made over $6.5 million on only 839 screens. The film beat Spike Lee’s latest – Miracle at St. Anna! So how evangelical actor Kirk Cameron‘s firefighter faith-based film become the year’s second highest grossing opening weekend released on lass than 1,000 screens (Hannah Montana’s 3D concert film is #1).
Provident Films’ grassroots marketing and outreach targeted churches, and organizations like American Family Association and Focus on the Family. Nikki Finke reports that “Faith-based “Action Squads” bought up blocks of tickets.” The film sold out a lot of screenings over the weekend, making a reported $7,764 per theatre (Steve Mason). Fireproof is the latest film from Sherwood Pictures, a nonprofit ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Georgia, that previously released 2006’s Facing the Giants ($10.17 million at the box office). Now that Sherwood Pictures has proved the Christian-themed film to be a profitable endeavor, I would expect Hollywood to jump on the bandwagon.
MGM co-founder Louis B. Mayer was once quoted as saying “If you want to send a message, send a telegram.” If you ask me, the worst kind of movies are message films. You can’t get more cliche or formulaic than an after school special. And even if Fireproof attempted to focus more on story than your typical after school special, it is still a message film at its core.
If you want to see real entertainment, watch this video of “An Atheists Worst Nightmare” with Kirk Cameron trying to prove the existence of God using a banana.