Hollywood works its miracle in the Bible Belt

>> Sunday, October 10, 2010



The film opens and closes with a quote from the book of Job, and a key moment in the gospel hymn "O Happy Day" serenades the audience. That, officials say, the ultimate Feelgood film - the wonder of life itself.

The film in question is the Secretariat, the story of a real life horse racing thoroughbred that won the American Triple Crown in 1973 and is the latest attempt by Hollywood moviegoers of the Bible Belt to attract.

Amid big-budget flops and cracked DVD sales, the studio managers tried many methods to increase the box office, including film conversion to 3D, producing infinite series of heroes and predecessors, movies and even based on games.

Now change it to what they call "the public trust," especially going to the large community church in America.

In the case of the Secretariat of $ 35000000 (22 million pounds) Disney production that opened in the U.S. this weekend, had trailers in the words of equity distributed to religious sites, extracts kept for Christian groups and subtext of the movie Faith said.

More commonly associated with gambling, the world of horse racing seem at first glance unlikely draw for religious conservatives, but it did not stop a campaign of aggressive marketing.

Randall Wallace, director, promoted the same movie on a website called HollywoodJesus.com, where he talked about how the story of the triumph of the horse against all expectations, "confirms and celebrates the idea of faith and hope."

Wallace, himself a Christian, said: "I think the function of storytelling is powerful in our society know Jesus did not argue doctrinal issues when asked a question it almost always answered with a history ..."

Other popular films embracing Christian themes of forgiveness and salvation is in progress. These include Soul Surfer next year, with Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt. It tells the story of the American surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost an arm during a shark attack, but eventually returned to his sport.

pursuit of Hollywood Christian audiences is nothing if not comprehensive. There are places for clergy film and movie clips to download for use in sermons, and biblical quotes presented to link them. The performances were held for months before the religious leaders official release dates, and promotional materials are produced for Bible study groups.

The potential of the Christian public was revealed by the success of The Blind Side, a press release from Warner Bros., which proved the surprise U.S. hit of last year.

It tells the true story of Michael Oher, a poor black teenager by Leigh Anne Tuohy, a Christian has been adopted and will be a major player in American football has become.

Movie clips to 22,000 mega-churches in the United States for his release, and suggested Bible passages for ministers to discuss in their sermons.

For example, a clip where Tuohy revolves around his car to pick up homeless Oher is suggested that a sermon is accompanied on Matthew 25.35-36, take foreign

For Hollywood directors, the figures are the result of the campaign is a miracle in itself. Each church has a congregation averaging 400, which means that the clips reached an estimated audience of 8.8 million.

Many of them liked what they saw and they gave their seats at cinema, helping the movie gross a staggering $ 309,000,000 (195 million pounds) - more than 10 times the production budget - and propel its star, Sandra Bullock, a Oscar for best actress.

The aggressive marketing campaign for the secretariat has already led to suggestions that his wife Diane Lane star, who owns the horse play, the success of Bullock repeat.

Grace Hill Media, a marketing firm at the forefront of the drive to Hollywood to reach viewers Christian, has already helped nearly 300 films and reach over 150,000 teachers.

"I do not know if you saw a contemporary worship service lately, but they are pretty large, modern rooms with numerous TV screens, certainly not your grandfather's church with an organ," said Jonathan Bock's Grace Hill, Christian life.

"If you're a pastor and you pay only $ 35,000 (£ 22,000) for a widescreen hi-tech, you just do not want to screen the lyrics to" Our God is an Awesome God. "Now, if they tell a story about the hope that they can be extracted using the Hank Redemption."

At Yorba Linda Friends Church, a "megachurch" with the regular congregations of up to 8500 in Southern California, Pastor Phil Hotsenpiller do it.

He continued in a hall in front of a giant, 40 foot by 20 foot movie screen. For good measure, there are two 15 foot by 10 foot screens on either side of the stage.

Mr. Hotsenpiller recently with The Weinstein Company, the independent movie studio in Hollywood a series of sermons entitled "Carrying the Fire" to be used with clips from the road, filming the post-apocalyptic novel creation by Cormac McCarthy This sermon . and videos, is repeated in churches throughout the United States.

"The silver screen is the chair today," said Hotsenpiller the Sunday Telegraph "people. Do they value their idea of God, from the silver screen. He does not want it is the best seat, but you have a ton of people watching us.

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