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Church produced film 'Courageous' lights up box office on opening weekend
Produced by a Georgia church, “Courageous” opened in the number four slot last weekend.
October 4th, 2011
09:05 AM ET

Church produced film 'Courageous' lights up box office on opening weekend

By Gabe LaMonica, CNN

(CNN)– A Baptist church in Albany, Georgia, is getting Hollywood's attention - the church, Sherwood Baptist, has developed a movie-production operation, and its latest offering opened last weekend as the Number Four top money-grossing film in the country.

The Christian-themed film, "Courageous," was developed in connection with TriStar, Sony, and Provident Films. It is meant to inspire fathers to not leave their families, to love their children, to not fail.

"Courageous," which opened in just 1,161 theaters this past weekend, depicts four police officers who share a commonality both as fathers and in their effort to become better ones. The movie and its characters, played by amateur actors and members of Sherwood Baptist are enveloped in various ways in a devastating tragedy.

According to boxoffice.com, which tracks movie response nationwide, put "Courageous" at the fourth position for the weekend with gross revenues of just over $9 million. The fifth- and sixth-place movies ("50/50" and "Dreamhouse") both opened at far more theaters but did not come close to the weekend box-office income of "Courageous."

"Courageous" takes on a timely topic - fatherhood.

The National Fatherhood Initiative, an organization dedicated to "educating and engaging fathers across the country," lists wide-ranging adverse affects that correlate to children growing up in fatherless households. Fatherless households are common in the United States, and there is no causal evidence linking fatherless households to increased suicide rates, incarcerations, aggression, behavioral disorders, delinquency, criminal activity, confused identities, low achievement, and criminal activity.

But the correlating evidence is so strong that in a country where the most recent census lists 24 million children - one in three - living apart from their biological fathers, it is remiss to discount it.

"No matter what your scenario is - you're single or married or whatnot - we want to really inspire and encourage men to see the value of their role as a dad," says Alex Kendrick, the co-writer, director, and actor who plays the character Adam Mitchell in "Courageous."

Kendrick, who co-writes with his brother Steven, says, "The reason we put it in a law enforcement setting was that, as you know, a motto from law enforcement is to serve and protect, and then we drew a correlation to what a father is supposed to do."

"We drew that correlation and said, 'Wouldn't it be interesting if we put this in the context of police officers who are also dads, and they may be heroic on the streets but it also takes courage to be a great dad - not just a good enough dad.'"

Ken Bevel, who plays Nathan Hayes, a sheriffs' deputy in the film, says that everyone has a dad and can relate to a fatherhood story. "We just pray that this movie resonates in the hearts of men and women and families across the globe," he says.

"If you go to Sherwood (Baptist Church) on any given day you will see a bunch of people that are in the movie," says Bevel, who played Kirk Cameron's fellow firefighter in "Fireproof," the last film from Sherwood Pictures.

"Our desire is not to become the next movie-making sensation or to make millions and millions of dollars at the box office," he says, "our desire is to see hearts changed and families touched."

Kendrick's character, Adam Mitchell, makes a general statement over grilled steaks to his fellow officers in the movie: "Half of the fathers in this country are already failing," he says, "and I don't want to be one of them."

The Christians at Sherwood Baptist Church, says Kendrick, "want especially men to walk out of the movie theater saying, "This movie makes me want to be a better dad and really a better man as a model and mentor to my children.'"

"You will see a difference and it will make a difference in our culture," he says.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Georgia • Movies • United States

soundoff (1,517 Responses)
  1. sydney

    that MOVIE was awsome. its a must see

    October 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  2. JohnM

    THIS MOVIE IS NOT FOR EVERYBODY. IT IS ONLY FOR MEN WHO WANT TO BE REAL MEN.

    This movie is for men who want to quit being self-centered and dead beats. Men who are already good dads, who want to be great dads. Every married woman should be making plans to bring their husband to this movie. The message is the same whether you are a Christian or not. If you have not seen the movie, your criticism means nothing.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  3. tony danzig

    I have a movie for all you "christians" it's called RED STATE. Seriously what will it take for you idiots to chill out with this religion? We as EMERICANS know christ was white and loves EMERICA more than anything right GIT IR DONE. I can't wait for the day that all religion gets debunked. Do society and yourself a favor and blow your brains out you're holding the rest of society back with this bs.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      Just an FYI......Everything you said has absolutely nothing to do with Christ or what he taught. Peace 🙂

      October 4, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • JohnM

      Tony, you should really try to be more open-minded and begin to think for yourself. People who are close-minded (hmmm, like you) and don't bother to do any primary research of their own relying on the thinking of others (hmmm, like you) are really the ones who are holding this country back. But....there's hope for you. You see, Jesus said if you earnestly desire to know the truth He will make sure you find it. So, Tony, God speed and start your search and see if any of this Jesus stuff is true.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • hmmmmm

      "People who are close-minded (hmmm, like you) and don't bother to do any primary research of their own relying on the thinking of others (hmmm, like you) are really the ones who are holding this country back."

      hmmmmm the bible was written by the thinking of others and put together by the thinking of others with very little research done on the validity of it. hmmmm you're the closed minded one and is holding this country back. For example – Stem cell research! 😉

      October 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • Cooper

      Which cell of al-Qaeda do you belong to?

      October 4, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  4. Alison

    Good for them! I would love to see more people making movies and t.v. shows meant to uplift, inspire, and improve people. I'd pay to see it even if it didn't win any Hollywood awards.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  5. Tracy

    We saw this Friday night, and it was AMAZING. At the end, many of the men in the theater, my husband included, stood up and shouted "I WILL!" in commitment to their children. I held it together through what was a heck of a tear-jerker of a movie – only to bawl my eyes out at that point. This is a fantastic movie – and deserves the #1 spot. Great job, Sherwood Baptist.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  6. Jarrelle

    Terri

    And can you not see the irony in calling someone dim when you can't even spell or construct a sentence.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  7. Stew

    It sounds like a good message; no need to hate. In fact, churches of all sort spread good messages all the time. That being said, I have more respect for people that do not require a church or a threat of eternal damnation to do good. Of course, I recognize that many people require this crutch.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Tracy

      Stew, a relationship with Jesus isn't about eternal damnation, but I wouldn't expect anyone sold out on the the lie that it is to understand that.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Sid

      Tracy, no one has a relationship with Jesus. No one.Unless that is they umm, like it with the remains of a thousands of years dead guy, and call that a relationship. Maybe that's you.

      October 4, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  8. Jarrelle

    Terri

    If you weren't so busy brushing your tooth, you'd see where I said I believe in God, but don't have to submit to group-think for validation.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  9. Good Father

    The reason why so many children live apart from their Father is the idiot judges in this country keep taking the children away from them and treating Fathers so badly. If divorce is going to happen in this country, then the laws need to change so that Fathers can see their children more. Provide for them more DIRECTLY. And not have to pay the Mother ridiculous sums of money that never go to the children anyways.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • sarabethany

      @Good Father child support is not just a number the judge invents out of his head. It calculated based on formulas as a percentage of income. It represents a lot less than what he would probably spend if he lived with the kid. Do you know it takes $221000 to raise a kid just to age 18? Food, clothes, diapers, activities, medical expenses, etc. are not cheap. I was one of those from a divorced home and for over 10 years my father didn't pay child support. He had a high-paying job, but in those days child support enforcement was per state so when he moved to another state he realized he could stop paying with no legal repercussions. During that time we were dirt poor and I got teased for my raggedy clothes and not having shoes that fit. Believe me it sucks growing up knowing that your father does not think you are worth spending any money on, much less sending a birthday card. Men should separate their anger/bitterness towards the ex from the kids, and not take it out on their kids.

      October 4, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  10. Terri

    Jarrelle ur mind is rather dim. I guess u believe ur momma created u huh. Wow shows how bright u are.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Atheists < Poo

      Sorry terri but you sound like an idiot.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  11. joepa

    Guy in the picture reminds me of Nixon.

    I have nothing hateful to say so I'll stop right there.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  12. sarabethany

    For those who are blaming single mothers on the millions of fathers not involved in their kids lives...yes the ex-girlfriend/wife can be a vindictive harpy who cheated on him, took all his money, whatever. That does not excuse him from his responsibilities to his kids. If the man's name is on the birth certificate, he has the right to joint custody. If he prefers not to have joint custody, he has the right to visitation. There is no excuse for a man to deadbeat on his kids, because things ended badly with their mother. Some men will go to great lengths to hide their income, or work under the table, to avoid paying child support. A lot of the time it's the new gf/wife that doesn't want any money going to the ex, or think his kids coming over is a nuisance. But it is the kids who are suffering, and they are the innocent ones!

    October 4, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  13. oh yea

    The fifth- and sixth-place movies ("50/50" and "Dreamhouse") both opened at far more theaters but did not come close to the weekend box-office income of "Courageous."

    I would like to know if the theatres chosen were all in the bible belt. This movie could suck big time and the bibelthumpers would flock in droves, for ideologicl reasons, which makes these stats meaningless...

    October 4, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • TheyNotHim

      I wonder how many congregations forced their youth to go see this drivel or bussed them in en masse to inflate the numbers...thumpers have stooped to underhanded tactics like this in the past and will continue to do so for it is their character to do so...

      October 4, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • squiggy

      I don't know of anyone who EVER makes their youth do anything at ANY church I've been involved with, so I'm not sure where you're going with that one. But I HAVE experienced liberalism (and anti-Christianity) to its FULLEST in a university where I HAD to take the class to get my degree. So who's forcing who?

      October 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  14. Terri

    U know ur right, Poo is a ridiculous name.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  15. Terri

    Oh, Coppers so u got jokes but one day u will be held accountable.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Pascal's Wager.
      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_Wager

      October 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • TheyNotHim

      But...GOD DOES NOT EXIST...total lack of evidence that something exists is evidence that it does not exist...since there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that there is a god, the question has been settled...thus, as Pascal states, live your own life and enjoy a finite gain when you return to the nothingness when you die...

      October 4, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • squiggy

      TheyNotHim

      Your logic is flawed. Are you saying that we know everything about everything there is to know? If not, then there MAY be something that we have no proof of which actually DOES exist.

      October 4, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  16. Republicans for Voldemort

    Movies like this are great for keeping the flock from getting too unruly, and we get the proceeds too. Go team.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  17. Robin G.

    You negative people are unbelievable and ignorant. Try believing in something other than your own ego. You are only here for a short time. "Every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that HE is God." But the whole point of this article was the Church getting involved....Guess we forgot that! This gave the nay sayers a voice to vent because no one else listens to them.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Amanda

      If,and only if, your response was directed at my post - I didn't say anything to denounce Jesus Christ as Lord. I simply pointed out that an Almighty God surely doesn't need people to run to his defense in a blaze of "glory." For everything, there is a season, a time to speak up for your God... and a time to keep your mouth closed in an effort to not push people away from your God. Exclaiming that "everyone will burn in hell", is surly not the best tactic to win someone else to your side. These people have been spending too much time with Michelle Bachmann and perhaps are "little innocent girls" who have become "retarded" due to receiving "harmful vaccines" against their will. Get a grip people, not everything requires hell fire and brimstone.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  18. Atheists < Poo

    my name pretty much says it all.......

    October 4, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • secularbear

      Very Christian of you.

      At any rate, I'm sure this movie will have some cutting edge science. After all, the bible did say that the earth has corners and that bats are fowl.

      Oh, and churchy types throughout time have also denied that the earth goes around the sun, that the earth is round, that Jupiter has moons, that radioactive isotope dating is valid, that dinosaurs lived before people, and that evolution actually happened. Real geniuses.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Ryan S

      You are bad at math?

      October 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • ControversialComment

      So confused...

      October 4, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  19. Jarrelle

    You're not a hypocrite? Yet you are espousing Christian values even as you deride those who don't think like you? That light that shines on you is clearly rather dim!

    October 4, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  20. Jarrelle

    Terri,

    Some of us believe in God but don't see the need to congregate with droves of like-minded people to justify our beliefs. It is always groups of people with an agenda that ruin everything. That's where the brainwashing and intolerance begin.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.