home
RSS
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. jeeeebus

    Love how religions was made to, and still is just used to keep people in line, make money and get the votes!

    October 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • foo

      nice work, ignoranus

      October 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  2. JD

    I am a liberal and likely do not share many views with the members of Sherwood Baptist Church. I agree with them 100% on this issue however. I have worked in the welfare and family court systems for nearly 20 years. I believe that the sad reality of millions of children (especially boys) growing up without emotional and financial support from their fathers contributes to many of our social ills. I appreciate the writer/director/actor Alex Kendrickl's desire to inspire all fathers, married or not, to be there for their children.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  3. foreverwar

    So I guess kids with two fathers must be getting raised twice as good according to the church. It is a shame they still do not give credit to single mothers, but I am glad they are recognizing gays after all thes centuries.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  4. Santa Claus

    Why do father's get a bum rap for destroying families?

    If the woman would shut her yapper and quit blowing all the father's money, perhaps more would stick around to raise the children.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  5. Good Solid God Fearing Republican

    This is just a bunch of liberal lies. No real church would do a movie like this. God ain't nice. God likes to punish and kill stuff! God is a Republican, god damn it!

    October 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • The Half Baked Lunatic

      god is nothing more than a figment of an over-active imagination.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Eh, I'd say it's a pretty inactive imagination. Same make believe hocus pocus for centuries now.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  6. Aristocles

    Having a father is critical. That anyone even begins to doubt this is a major problem. Don't take out your anti-Christian vitriol here.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • David, CA

      Being a christian is not key to being a good father. Im sure that there are plenty of "christian" fathers that are cruel, bigoted, abusing, alcoholics, just like the rest of society. Why else did they feel the need for this film to lecture to men?

      October 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  7. jon

    Yeah, large numbers of men abandon their families early. If 24 million children are living apart from their biological father, as this article states, we are surely messed up. It is the easiest thing in the world to create a child, but staying around for the 20 years or more that it takes to raise that boy or girl takes a real commitment. Maybe the wife drives the father away in some cases, but then they both are to blame. I suppose our nearly 50% divorce rate in this country has to make one wonder why people even bother to get married at all. Most of them do not last very long – even after children are in the picture. Kind of a mess.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  8. Jack

    It's too bad that members of this particular church are some of the biggest hypocrites out there. When we relocated in 1992 and attended a public concert, we were questioned by persons seated next to us what church my wife and I attended: Sherwood or Byne (the other main Baptist Church in the town?) When we responded that we attended the local Catholic church, this person made it a point to turn her back to my wife and I and refused to speak to us.

    We came across this same treatment from almost every single member of this church in different areas or during various events.

    We're all Christians. Shouldn't we love one another instead of judging someone based on the church they attend?

    I'll never see a "Sherwood Pictures" movie.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • rufus

      "to my wife and I"??? Maybe she couldn't stand yo' grammar.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Ceri

      So you're turning your back on them, then, Jack? Sorry to hear that. I agreed with the first part of your statement but two wrongs certainly don't make a right.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • marsmotel

      No way, I am a non-believing Jew. We were chosen and here first. You didn't like our book so you made the new testament. Get your facts straight.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Toby

      What a terrible experience! Unfortunately, religion (as with politics) is one of the most divisive ideologies out there. Personally, I am not a religious believer-but I support anyone's right to think as they see fit. Unfortunately many religious folks become so consumed with the idea that their way of interpreting ideas and ancient writings is the ONLY way-and shun those who think differently. I think the only thing one can do in your situation (which you no doubt did) is to just keep smiling and be the same person you were when you walked in the door that day-your beliefs are your own and so is your mind. Peace.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      What did you expect? They learn in Sunday School that you hate them and would steal their children in a moment to raise as "papists." You're lucky they didn't attack you with teeth and fingernails.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  9. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    This film needs ... more cow bell. (and zombies)

    October 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • The Half Baked Lunatic

      Best comment ever!

      October 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • JT

      I agree with more cow bell. You can never have enough cow bell but more zombies would throw everything out of whack. There's only one zombie who was dead for three days and then came back to life and had an extremely successful cult built around him.

      October 4, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
  10. This is God posting from Heaven

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    a Kirk Cameron film. I don't need to say more.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Servant63

      you might want to say more like – "I'm wrong" – as Kirk Cameron isn't in this film....

      October 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      He was funny in Webster.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  11. Servant63

    How about posting comments after watching the movie... doesn't make much sense to me to talk about a movie you haven't seen... I saw the movie and as a father who loves his wife and kids – I enjoyed the movie as did my wife and 16 year old daughter... not sure why good, wholesome movies bring out bitterness and anger in people posting who haven't even seen the movie... Glad to hear that it is doing well and bringing in money... I imagine this movie wasn't free to make – so good to hear they can probably cover their expenses and use the rest to make more movies like this...

    October 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • David, CA

      Maybe it's the pandering they don't like? Maybe it's the hammy acting? Maybe it's the "message" delivered with all the subtlety of a sledge hammer?

      October 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Servant63

      So David... you – and all those bad mouthing this film have seen it? Is it that good moral values are offensive? Does the importance of loving others more than yourself make us bitter because of pride or something... If we can nit pick about the quality of acting and miss the message of the story then we really have hard and unloving/uncaring hearts...

      October 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  12. Pastor Evans

    Glory to God! Jesus will return soon and find His Church glorious!

    October 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • yeahalright

      The gullible have been saying "soon" for 2,000 years. Never happens though. By the way, it never will.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • David, CA

      But it'll be empty. Everyone's at the movies watching ham-fistted tripe that has little to nothing to do with the messages he preached.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      You may be a "pastor", but I think you obviously don't have a grasp on human nature. If Jesus returned, we would just kill him again. A possible exception would be Charles Manson, he claimed to be jesus returned, but we just keep him locked up and trot him out every once in a while to scare the sheep.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  13. agnostrick

    You people are sick. I'm an agnostic, but most of you need something: humility, self-awareness, good character, compassion, the list goes on...

    I don't know if there is a higher being, but you guys better pray there isn't.

    Okay, resume your vile, un-provoked rage...

    October 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Colin

      You people are sick. I'm an agnostic, but most of you need something: humility, self-awareness, good character, compassion, the list goes on...

      Now resume your vile, unprovoked rage."

      Oh the irony is rich.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • David, CA

      "I don't know if there is a higher being, but you guys better pray there isn't."

      Passive agressive much agnostrick?

      October 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      What I need is $50.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  14. Reemo

    In related news, a self-proclaimed Christian man ran into a burning building and rescued a child. While many within the community are calling the man a hero, atheist groups around the globe are protesting his action, labeling him a child-abuser. Just another typical day in a world where Christians can do no right.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Billy

      Source? I would like to read that article please...

      October 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • This is God posting from Heaven

      Thanks for sharing that fictional story.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • yeahalright

      The seven lama score inate fight nine botswana comand c 9 e 4 tutu.

      makes as much sense as what you wrote.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Isn't lying a sin?

      October 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      That's re tar ded. No athiest would ever say such a thing. You are obviously a victim of your hate mongering christian religious dogma.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      So, you just lied for Jesus, right? Wow. Okay, last week an atheist invented a hair-growing serum so powerful it could grow hair on a bowling ball, but some Christians killed him and said hairy balls were against the will of god. Just another crazy day in a world of god-botherers.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  15. Nurse143

    Love on the haters, y'all. Remind them that God is above all, uplifting; beneath all, upholding; inside all, filling; and outside all embracing.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • This is God posting from Heaven

      and I need money and attention. Lots of it. Every sunday, sunday, sunday!

      October 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • marsmotel

      You are nuts lady. If I said there was an invisible man in the sky, I would be locked up in a mental ward as you should be.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • rufus

      How do you love "on" a person? Is that like beating on a person? Does God "love on" us? Ouch!

      October 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  16. scieng

    I saw the film. What a wonderful change from the excuses men have for not being responsible for their actions. What a wonderful change from the cynical rhetoric of selfishness, and the popular Holywood role models of men being nothing more than undiscipled children with rights. It was well written and acted. The message is worth listening to.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  17. Jesuslover

    Cool great film haha atheist fruitcakes we have a movie out you fools don't.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Good for you I guess? Being a great dad is goal number 1 in my life and I do so without paying homage to your invisible sky fairy.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • I believe

      ...you're forgetting "Manos, The Hands of Fate", not nominated for seven Academy Awards.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • marsmotel

      You have lots a films out: Alice in Wonderland, Dumbo, Beowolf and any other film that has make-believe characters that make you feel good about yoursef because you lack the vision to use your own mind.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • CJ

      Hey, lots of us love Jesus, but this isn't a good way to let people know we are different, and that we are Christians. Jesus expects more of us than insults. 🙂

      October 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @I believe
      Torgo is the man!

      October 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • This is God posting from Heaven

      Hey JesusLover

      Stop it. You are acting like a D O U CHE.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Torgo

      The MASTer would NOT appROVE.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  18. virtualgd

    Goes to show you that hollywood s u c k s!

    October 4, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  19. SavedbyGrace

    To those who reject Christianity I would pose this question to you – What is the consequence to me if I'm wrong about repenting of my sins and placing my faith in Christ Jesus as the only way to salvation? More importantly, what is the consequence to you if you're wrong? To your children? Repent my Friends and ask Jesus into your life as your Lord & Savior...Grace & Peace to you, in Jesus Name.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Bob

      What if you're wrong. There are 1000's of religions out there. You're betting pretty big on some bad odds.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Yeah it ticks thor off to no end. If there is a god I won't be able to say I worshipped him/her/it...but I'll at least be able to say I didn't worship some competing god that makes god jealous.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Colin

      Ah yes, the "believe or burn" theory again. I don't have to killl, I don't have to ra.pe, I don't even have to litter. All I have to do is be skeptical of [the Christian] god and it will sentence me to a fate a billion times worse than the death penalty – and it loves me.

      Dark Ages nonsense.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • blargh

      What if you have the right idea but the wrong god? What if it's Vishnu? Zeus? Marduk? What if your god's preferred religion is islam? No cookie for you, either.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Hail Ra! All bow down and bask in his solar munificence! Worshipers of the pagan christ-god shall roast in his presence!

      October 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • What If

      SavedbyGrace:
      "What is the consequence to me if I'm wrong about repenting of my sins and placing my faith in Christ Jesus as the only way to salvation?"

      What would you say about all the long-ago believers in Zeus who went to their graves thinking similar thoughts? Or the believers in Ra, or Allah or any of the tens of thousands of gods dreamed up over the centuries?

      Believe what you will, just don't proclaim that it is the absolute one and only truth. If a "God" exists, let it take care of making contact with us ... to each of us in our own understanding.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Nothing is wrong with it, absolutely nothing. Spend you're whole life in a church for all I care, just don't try and take me down with you is all I ask, and keep your nonesense away from me and my loved ones. Do that and we have no problems, try to force me to believe in christ, stop schools from teaching evolution or the big bang in favor of creationism or generally try to insti.tute a theocracy in America and then you'll see why I have issues with your faith.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • SavedbyGrace

      Bob & Others, It's a safe bet. Muhammad, Bhudda, etc...are all still in their tombs. Really, what else would Jesus have to have done to convince you He truly is the 'Way, Truth, and the Life'...and the only 'way' to the Father? (John 14:6) Ultimately the proud will not seek God, nor will they have any use for Him. Those that acknowledge they are sinners in need of a Savior will diligently and humbly look for Him – And only these will find Him. (Jer 29:13) It's your choice my Friends...

      October 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • yeahalright

      SavedbyGrace....you're in BIG trouble with Thor's hammer upon your expiration.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • The Forager

      "Muhammad, Bhudda, etc...are all still in their tombs."

      A fictional story about your religion's prophet being raised from the dead doesn't make your religion any more likely to be right than do other religions' fictional stories about human beings defying nature or becoming gods.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Servant63

      Chuckles, Chuckels, Chuckles... if you really want to educate your kids – teach them evolution and creationism... don't simply teach them one side... let them study all beliefs, all religions... don't hinder them from studying Christianity, Hindu, Mormon, etc... let them seek after the Truth – don't force your belief, or any lack thereof, on them... we each have our own faith in something – so if you don't want me pushing mine on you or your kids – don't push your belief/faith on me or them either – give them the freedom to excercise their faith/belief...

      October 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • WhatRUAfraidOf

      It's really too bad that this conversation is turning into a diatribe against religion or for it. I am a Christian – raised as a Protestant and converted to Roman Catholicism. My mother was Jewish and my dad Episcopalian.

      One of my dearest, best friends is an atheist. He has many wonderful qualities and is a genuinely good person. Right now, he is suffering from brain cancer and I pray for him every day. I can't prove to the scientific part of my brain whether or not there is a God, but it makes ME feel better to pray for him and he certainly doesn't mind it, though he doesn't himself believe in it. I think he appreciates that I think highly enough of him to pray that God is with him whether or not my friend believes it.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      How about you convert to Islam so you won't be burned if Christianity is false? Or Buddhism? Or the Blue Oyster Cult?

      October 4, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • MistahBurns

      Isn't this statement admitting that you only believe in God because you are afraid not to. Yeah because thats what he would want, not you living a moral life, just believing out of fear, good job

      October 4, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • SavedbyGrace

      To my unbeleiving Friends, "Today if you should hear His voice do not harden your hearts..." (Hebrews 3:7) I just prayed that Jesus would stir your heart and quicken your soul to repent of your sins and recieve Him as your Lord & Savior. Beloved of God – It's not God's will that any should perish (2Per3:9). Heaven or hell is your choice in this life...God will honor the choice you've made in the next. Yes God loves each of you...enough so that He would not have you endure Him who you have rejected, for eternity. Grace & Peace to each of you – I've said enough...

      October 4, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  20. Bob

    Reading the reviews on RottenTomatoes, there are a bunch of 100% reviews that have zero reasoning and add nothing of value while there are a few low ratings that actually describe why raters didn't like it.

    It's fun to watch the sheep.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • UhYeaOk

      It's fun to see people like you get so worried that they have to post opinions like yours. The movie is simply trying to get dads to do what they should do, no need to come here and knock either the movie or those who liked it. You haters troll these stories just to post something negative.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Advertisement
About this blog

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.