Filmmakers Alex and Stephen Kendrick seem to have the formula down â€” grossing nearly $80 million on four films made for less than $4 million combined. Only thing is the Kendrick brothers work far from Hollywood and, outside the world of Christian-themed cinema, many have never heard of their films.
That could change.
Increasingly, major studios appear to be taking a leap for faith-based audiences with biblical epics such as “Noah” starring Russell Crowe, the planned December release of “Exodus” and a remake of “Ben-Hur” for early 2016.
At one point in April, there were four faith-based movies in the Top 20 at the box office, including “Heaven Is for Real,” about a 4-year-old boy’s account of his trip to heaven. It has grossed more than $99 million on a production budget of $12 million by Sony Pictures.
“Hollywood has taken note,” said DeVon Franklin, former Sony senior vice president of production, who oversaw “Heaven Is for Real.”
The Kendrick brothers â€” who just wrapped up filming their fifth project â€” are making movies that could see wider release as distributors pay attention to the box office trends in the traditional Bible Belt and beyond.
Their latest film, which has yet to have a title, centers on a family realizing the power of prayer.
“The point is not racing to see how many movies we can produce,” said Alex Kendrick, in a telephone interview from Charlotte, North Carolina. “The point is to take the time, in prayer and research, to make a solid film and get the most ministry out of it before moving to the next one.”
The Kendricks began with a tiny production company with their pastor at Sherwood Baptist, but decided to strike out on their own with their fifth film. The brothers say the separation was amicable and necessary for them to grow as filmmakers and recruit actors and crew nationwide. [More]