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. Amanda

    I have two points to make and then I'll let you guys have at dissecting and berating.

    1.) If you don't believe there is a God, there should be no cause for offense to those who do. If anything, you should have pity for their misguidance- not anger.

    2.) If you do believe in an Almighty God who created all that is, surely you believe He is capable of coming to His own defense and doesn't need the likes of humans running and defending His honor.

    Think about it. And, I'll let you stand in wonder of which side I stand on. 🙂

    October 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      Ahhh well post Amanda. I don't know what you are however I agree. Peace 🙂

      October 4, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Chuckles

      You believe in god – count it!

      secondly I most certainly do have pity for the poor people who spend their lives for nothing, must be terrible way to live, always excepting to be punished by an invisible god, living your life in hopes of having a second life thats automatically better than this one, hateing others because you're told so. It's got to be rough.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Obuabuo

      Couldn't have said it any better!

      October 4, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Barry G.

      The Christians in the first centuries were actually called atheists, because they refused to believe in the pagan gods (idols), and they, like the Jews, worshiped an invisible God.

      The non-Christians couldn't understand why the Christians refused to participate in the vices they practiced, and they couldn't understand why they were willing to suffer and die, rather than renounce their God (Jesus).

      This, of course, is nothing new. For many centuries (millennia) the Jews had similar difficulty, because they believed in a living God, which was very different than the pagan gods of mythology and idolatry.

      I am a Christian, and I consider it a privilege to be mocked, as the early Christians were by the pagans, and as the Jews have also been.

      Jesus told us to rejoice whenever we're persecuted for his sake; for, there will come a day, when those who were mocked will receive their great reward, and those who mocked them will receive theirs.

      Life is short, and death is inevitable, and the end for those who mock is probably much closer than they realize.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Atheists < Poo


      Btw it's spelled hating, not hateing.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Terri

      Wow Amanda, I have pity on you when the day comes that you stand face to face with Jesus. You will eat those words and beg for forgiveness but it will be too late! Secondly, is it not common sense that something had to create all living things because humans can't do it . Think about what you are saying before you say it. Isn't it better to believe and chance going to heaven than not believe and chance going to hell.You better be thankful that He gave you breath of life this morning. Oh and this is for the person who calls himself Chuckles too. Its all common sense which neither of you obviously do not have.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Amanda

      Yeah, about that. I didn't say anything sacrilegious – actually. Interesting that you assumed that I am non-Christian, being as that I didn't say that at all. However, when I stand face to face with Jesus, I'm pretty sure that he'd rather have my heart felt belief than your "oh my goodness, I'd better believe just in case."

      Speaking of, that whole idea of "just in case" is pretty well blasphemy. Assuming you are following the Bible, you're instructed to believe with all of your heart, your mind, and your soul. If you're just face-value believing, that is definately not true belief, it is belief out of fear.

      Oh and, just one more thing, being rude and hateful about your beliefs is probably the best way to drive people away from them. If you're bitter and discontent and you're constantly "suffering persecution" (or so you say, odds are you don't even know the true definition of persecution) - who in the world would want what you have. Silly Rabbit.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Patrick

      Amanda, thanks for you post. I like your first point. I think that it is, in fact, the case in most situations that Deists and non-Deists get along swimmingly in the day-to-day without ever knowing each others belief systems.

      What you do see sometimes is a backlash against perpetuation of the Deists' mythologies (whatever their faith happens to be) largely out of fear of their effect. Being a secular nation and not having a national church are long-time foundations of the US government and the ideologies of those who built it. It is unfortunate, but there are those who do damage with their beliefs (see: Westboro Baptist Church), and others who fear the ideology spreading will damage some part of our society. Deists worry that non-believers are somehow immoral or damaging to our society, while non-believers worry that Deists will sacrifice their real world in favor of their imaginary one (if applicable).

      October 4, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  2. hippypoet

    THE ALMIGHTY SUN, the giver of life, the provider of everything. even gives free reuseble energy!

    those are facts!

    now lets here the morons argue!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • sam

      I live in Seattle; we don't get that here.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  3. Colin

    Which of the following groups honestly believes that an invisible being in the sky is watching their every move and reading their minds and will punish them if they are bad:

    (a) Small children, too young to know that is silly

    (b) Delusional schizophrenics

    (c) Christians; or

    (d) All of the above?

    October 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      Add the other two monotheisms to this. They are all the product of a Bedouins wandering the desert. Bigoted, women hating, blood thirsty, hair trigger temper, vengeful and completely lacking in concern for children and women.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  4. hippypoet

    run, the religious freaks are now making movies!!! i hope they have samual l jackson! and maybe a snake or 2, on a plane!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      They made those Left Behind or Below or something movies. Repent or die.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  5. Mike

    So they chose policemen as father figures. Policemen don't have time to be fathers.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      I don't have much experience with the police since the days of my youth when I found out that my mom was wrong. They were not my friends. They were bullying boors. As far as I can tell from stories by my son and his friends they are even worse now. I see them taser people to death when there are are 5 cops to one soon to be dead person. I would never want a cop for a father.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  6. dudley0418

    An excellent ministry.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  7. Jesse

    The movie was excellent, storyline was awesome. I haven't cried or laughed at a movie so hard in years. I honestly feel bad for those bitter and oh so intelligent individuals who seem to know more than God and discredit his existence. I am an educated male with my Masters and finally let my walls down and rid myself of all those bitter courses I was taught in college trying to remove God only to dismiss their current behavior. I pray you all find Jesus as I did, I'm a new person bc of Him.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      Amen! I completely agree with your post. I'm also an educated male, however I haven't yet gotten the masters. Will be pursuing that within the next year hopefully (deciding between MBA or Masters Finance/BIT). God bless 🙂

      October 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Patrick

      Jesse, why did you pick a Christian-type faith over Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Dao, Bhuddism, etc.? What was the determining factor that made you confident about your chosen faith over the so many others?

      October 4, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Ken

      Jesse, your post is one of the main problems I have with your religion. If you're better off now, that's fantastic and I genuinely mean that. But why do I have to come to your god – at your recommendation – to find happiness and fulfillment? Just be happy!

      The central problem is that religion has led you to believe that you have some exclusive answers due to your enlightenment. Being as educated as you are, you can surely see that your arrogance (even though you mean well) is a huge turn off to those of us who are doing just fine without it... even though you think we're not.

      Different strokes for different folks, my fellow human being.

      (By the way, I happen to think I'm a darned good dad and all three of my kids would probably say the same. Well, unless they choose to dwell the times I had to put on the black hat!)

      October 4, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  8. Jarrelle

    Its box office sales will plateau....it won't get any black viewers!!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  9. Atheists < Poo

    Oh what a miserable life you all clearly lead. Every one of your ranting hateful posts only proves this point further. My name pretty much says it all......

    October 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      This is so loving and kind. I can hardly wait to sign up and associate with those who think I am currently lower than excrement. The love, the acceptance, oh , praise the One who leads them.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  10. Ken

    I watched this movie over the weekend and I greatly enjoyed. We need more movies with substance, movies that tell a story about problems that are real about issues we are facing as a society. This movie clearly states a problem deeply rooted in our country and offers a way out. I invite you to go watch it and then, write whatever you think about it.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Atheists < Poo

      atheists hate morality and therefore will not see this movie. They will however continue down their path of self destruction, pride, and hatefulness all while professing to be the best thing on this planet.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • MistahBurns

      Hilarious name poo, however I think you are mistaken, atheists are not horrible immoral people, they largely would not want to see the movie because it equates on some levels being a good father to being christian, which creates many problems, such as you can not be a great gay father. I do applaud them for taking on the issue, but with many religions and many non-believers it takes an inherent bias that can cloud its message

      October 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • @ idiot with a ridiculous screen name

      Did you get up on the wrong side of the crack pipe this morning? Do you need a cookie? Or a hug? Did you really find that to be a good response to Ken's decent post? Tell us your real thoughts, punkin'.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • sam

      Show us on the doll where the bad liberals touched you, 'poo'.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Patrick

      Atheist hate morality like Deists hate using any of their five senses. Or logic and rationality.

      If you think any of that is true, you have swallowed the Kool-Aid and are already lost to us.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      Some quantum scientists are deists. It bears no resemblance to any of the monotheisms. It is not a religion. Many of the American founding fathers and the abolishionists were deists. The nice thing about them is they do not try to force you to become one or insult you because you are not one. My very biggest beef with Fundamentalists is the bigotry. I hated it as a child being abused spiritually, psychologically and intellectually in a very right wing Baptist church. I will slam this kind of child abuse at every occasion that a fundamentalist starts in with their hatred of everyone who disagrees with them. I consider it child abuse to tell a child they will go to HeII for disobedience or questioning the beliefs. I consider it child abuse to accuse a child of being demon possessed for wanting logical explanations of inconsistencies. I did not ask to be born with a need for logical or entomological proofs but I was abused because of it. I almost never see a Christian on-line being kind and accepting of diversity. Many of the atheists are creepy little bullies but at least they are not telling me I will go to HeII if I don't repent.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  11. seabeau

    How the Heathen Rage!!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Castiel

      What is a Heathen? And why is it capitalized?

      October 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  12. fatherless

    Not everyone has a "father". Both my sons are adopted and their fathers were legally "terminated" along with their mother. When I adopted they re-issued birth certificates without a father listed. Plus sperm-donor kids don't have a father. That just struck me as hilarious.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      I am a single mom. My son never felt any need for a man in the house as no one made any big deal out of it. He grew up to be a fine young man who is compassionate and goes out of his way to help the vulnerable and give his all at work. He is respected and has letters about him from the new President of a university here. He is not a Christian as I taught him about all the different faiths and, like me, he only respects the ones that put compassion and acceptance first. The people who report to him at work love him.

      My father was a gambler, a drunkard, and a womanizer. He did not stop at women. He got a 14 year old Down's Syndrome neighbour pregnant. I do not understand why he was able to run off for a few months and the whole thing blew over. He also pawed me from the age of 11 and made suggestive remarks to me and my girl friends. He was the better parent. He showed up at school events, dead drunk and lewd, while my Mother was doing church things. My mother left me home to take care of him when he came home and vomited all over the rugs and me and then started in with the hands. She never came to any events. She beat me and humiliated me on a regular basis for questioning the Church and refusing to accept that things like evolution were lies. She abandoned me for the sake of her soul and continued to say it was the right thing to do because she was working for Jesus by not being there for me. Baptists. Fundamentalists! My dad sober was fine but with her to come home to...

      A child needs a good parent and healthy environment to grow and learn it. A child does not need a man and a women in the house.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • W247

      Calgary Sandy

      I am so sorry to hear about what happened in your childhood. I couldn't even pretend to even know the horrors that you went through. I do believe that there are people that just use the church as a place to run away and hide from the world. That is not what the church was intended to be and I am sorry that the church let you down and hurt you so badly.

      But your story confirms the need for people to understand what it means to be a loving parent. To look after your responsibilities and take care of your family. Your mother should have understood this and people from the church should have been so connected in to your life that they should have seen this happening and stopped it.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  13. Kevin

    i saw the previews for this movie. the message is decent, but putting in church turns it to a hypocritical message.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Jerry

      How so?

      October 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Only if you view it as such. Beauty IS in the eyes of the beholder. You can make of this move what ever you want. Why does it make a difference that is was made by a chuch. Would you look more favorable if it was made by Speilberg? No difference. None at all.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Chuckles

      I finally got a copycat!!!

      October 4, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  14. Danielle

    There's too much negativity in the world. I am all for making more positive movies, TV shows, music, whatever.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      I don't see movies that are sermons and give space to bigots who have no ability to accept diversity in others positive. I seen nothing positive in anything that says it is the only path and the rest of you will be dammed.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  15. Russ

    So? It has nothing to do with the fact a church had something to do with it. Did anyone notice the names Sony and TriStar associated with it? It would have been different if it was a solely church produced film. It would have been about like a Sarah Palin movie........Can anyone say flop.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Ashley

      Actually this is sherwood pictures fourth film and the last two were huge. This church does an awesome job creating wholesome family movies with really powerful messages.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  16. Colin

    God is what happens when the ill-educated are left alone with a book of ethics and a gun.

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

      Is that the oh so intelligent more evolved atheist saying this? Hahaha, I really hope you haven't dropped out of high school yet.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      They don't understand ethics but they know what to do with a gun. Given the harm they do to children I can make a suggestion for its use.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  17. SNAPPA

    Great more cult crap to brainwash our kids. The one thing they left out is these guys are nothing more than "HUMAN" and they will falter and make mistakes no matter who they believe in.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • jaime c f

      i guess you only read headlines and not articles.... i just wish cnn had an "ignore" feature!!

      October 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Know Him

      A lot of people don't understand that Christians are people that sin, make mistakes and are not perfect; the difference is that we are forgiven. Why do people have to criticize a good movie that has a beautiful message? I have been through a divorce and it hurt my children and the family unit. Don’t most people want to stay together for the rest of their lives when they get married? We all have choices and free will but no matter what, there are consequences for all of our actions so why not make good choices. It is not easy but the good things in life never are. Even if you aren’t Christian it is a good movie so why not go see it and then decided.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      Why can you not see that telling people that god will only forgive you and yours is bigotry? Why can you not see that it is not loving to threaten people with HeII? Why can you not understand that billions of people see no reason to give up what already works in order to appease you? How can you be so dim as to wonder why people do not want to live forever? They may but they do not necessarily believe that you have the path. There are paths far older than the big three monotheisms and the b@stard child of them all: Mormonism. I was raised in a Baptist Church and never ever felt any joy or faith. I tried and must have asked Hay Zeus into my heart hundreds of time as a young'un and when I came back in my late 20's. I saw lots of cruelty calling itself love. I saw hypocrisy and bigotry. I was born wanting to understand everything and was assaulted verbally and physically as a curious child. I put it in my will that if I died and my friends could not raise my son he was to go to the foster system and not my mother. Better strangers than a Fundamentalist. I never had a chance for happiness or mental health because of these people and their influence on my poor simple and frightened Mom. I was adopted and no one in my family understood my need to understand and learn. So, I see your inability to understand why people don't just jump at the chance to narrow their view and turn against others as short sighted if not outright dim. You are a soft spoken bigot. Still a bigot.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • A Dedicated Father

      @ Calgary Sandy: I can see that neither of your parents were following the teachings of our savior. But, your abuse was the result of the weaknesses of your parents, not a church. I'm guessing that your mother was also dealing with the abuse of living with an alcoholic. However, the fact that she chose to hide in the church instead of dealing with the horrific problems in your home does not mean that the church made or taught her to do so. Your electronic persecution of christians cannot and will not satisfy you. You, unfortunately are focused on the wrong source. Let it go. Find some counseling (really, not meant sarcastically).

      October 4, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  18. Linda

    No wonder the world is in the shape it is in today. Listen to yourselves.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Get off your high horse and turn off the fox. I guarantee the world around you isn't nearly as bad as you think it is, in fact it's quiet enjoyable if you choose to see that side instead of being programed by Fox.

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

      @chuckles – Never does she mention her beliefs and anything of the sort. She simply pointed out that there's a ton of hatred on this board and 99% of it is from bitter atheists. You rule 99% of hollywood/television so go enjoy something of your ilk child.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Chuckles


      If this was Linda's first posting, you would have a point, however you this isn't so you don't. Secondly, Hollywood is 99% atheist? That's news to me. For some reason I thought it was pretty diverse or at worst controlled by the Jews. Then again I guess whatever they are I do really enjoy it, guess I'll go back to having fun and living an enjoyable life. Have fun kowtowing to the air and muttering to yourself in hopes the nothing you are asking with do something for you. Sounds like a hoot.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Know Him

      To: CalgarySandy
      We have free will and I do not judge people that do not believe in Jesus – that was not my intent, nor was my intent to make people feel less of themselves. It is in the bible that in order to be forgiven you need to believe that Jesus is your savior – not my words, Gods. I choose to be a Christian believer and so can you – free will. I did not mention hell or threaten people with it – not my style. I have a child that does not believe but I still love him with all my heart and will continue to do so. I don't hate or judge, that is not up to me. I am a sinner, I have been hurt mentally, physically and emotionally but seeing the miracles that I have seem through others has gotten me through what I have gone through. I choose to look inside myself, forgive others that have done horrible things to me and forgive. My views have not gotten narrow if anything they haven widen. I use to judge, hate, did not understand why bad things happened to good people and good happen to bad. I only found those answers through seeing what other people have gone through, how they got deep in their faith and with time the results that were unbelievable. I use to judge people in jail. If you do the crime you have to do the time. Now I write to an inmate and he has taught me more than I can say. I am not a bigot or narrow minded. I have been through a lot of abuse, hurts, pain that almost put me over the edge. I found that love is what it is all about and what has carried me through my hard times. I cannot condemn you – it is not my place. I can only share my experiences and that difficulties I have gone through and see that no matter what happens to me I have one God that I can turn to that will be there right along with me through the pain and suffering I have endured which compares nothing to what Jesus endured for me to be forgiven. Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. Reading the bible is what helped me understand that there were so many people that sinned but turned to Jesus and were saved. If only I could explain into words how my heart has been heavy, how much suffering I have gone through but by trying to understand myself and love others no matter what it is all about. You are right, love is very important and I have many friends that are not Christian but I will continue to love them anyway. They have to make their own choices but I don’t judge them for their beliefs. It is a personal choice we each make. I am sorry that you went through so much in your life and had to endure what you have. I only wish the best for you and that is in love not bigotry.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:30 am |
  19. Robertt

    Imagine the Tea Party making popular movies about their faith. We're "clinging to our guns and religion" (Obama 2007)

    October 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  20. Jim

    Does it matter who made the film? I think the message is the real point.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • sam

      Hey, now, that's LOGIC. You can't do that here!

      October 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      It totally matters who made it. When seeking to understand something you need to know what the creator's bias is. You need to look objectively at your own beliefs and those of the creator if you are to really know what is going on. Researching only one side of any issue only gets you one answer and not necessarily an accurate one. If you are unable to set your own bias to one side then you are not doing good analysis. Basic high school Social Studies, or it should be.

      October 4, 2011 at 6:04 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.