Sunday, December 7, 2008

Fireproof is HOT!

Tonia and I haven't seen it yet. (We don't get out to the movies much these days!) But I've heard good things about it.

We enjoyed this group's earlier movie, Facing the Giants-- a low-budget, fun little movie with some drama and some good messages.

In any case, Fireproof is doing quite well at the box office.

Here's a report from Peter Chattaway and Mark Moring in Christianity Today...

Two years ago, Facing the Giants, a low-budget sports movie made by volunteers at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, grossed $10 million on a budget of only $100,000.

This year, Sherwood scored a bigger hit when Fireproof, a marriage-in-crisis movie made for $500,000, surpassed even the $25 million take of Big Idea's 2002 film, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie. (It has currently earned $28,327,659, according to

Fireproof's success goes beyond the film itself: The Love Dare, a book tie-in cowritten by director Alex Kendrick and his producer, brother Stephen (both pastors at Sherwood), sold 600,000 copies within weeks, reaching No. 1 on The New York Times list of best-selling paperback advice books.

Alex Kendrick says he expects a bigger budget for Sherwood's next film, though he and his team have not decided on a story line. But with the extra money comes the challenge of balancing the ministry with improved artistry—a challenge partly met with Fireproof by casting as its lead Kirk Cameron, who essentially worked for free.

"We want to utilize our church members as much as possible, but at the same time we do recognize that at some point," Kendrick says, "you have to go beyond church members to keep improving the craft."

Craig Detweiler, codirector of the Reel Spirituality Institute at Fuller Theological Seminary, says the Kendricks have figured out how to connect with an audience that doesn't go to the movies much. That's because, he says, they are pastors who work with "real people and their everyday struggles" all the time.

If you're interested, Christianity Today also reviewed Fireproof, wrote about its success, interviewed actor Kirk Cameron, and wrote about the church behind the movie.


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