No less an authority than Variety called War Room filmmakers Alex and Stephen Kendrick the “Steven Spielbergs of Christian cinema.” Modestly budgeted religious dramas Fireproof, Courageous and War Room, which recently unseated Straight Outta Compton to take the top of the U.S. box office and now opens in Canada this week, have connected with an audience who feels underserved by traditional Hollywood fare.
“Christians like a well told story,” says Alex on the line from his native Georgia. “What we don’t like is when our saviour’s name is abused or taken in vain or our morals trashed so that keeps us away from many movies. It’s amazing to me that if Hollywood knew how many movies we stayed away from on purpose because of some of the offensive aspects they would change because it means much more money for them.
“We want well told stories and that’s what we want to do. The only difference is that my brothers and I try to make movies that leave the audience with something more than just entertainment or eye candy. We want to leave them with hope and inspiration and a reminder that God is real and he loves them and that he has a plan for their lives. That is what’s most important to us, so I think the audience that is responding to War Room is resonating with that.”
War Room, the story of a woman who learns to solve marital problems through the power of prayer, is the highest grossing faith based film since Heaven Is for Real made almost $100 last year.
“We prayed that it would do something we did not expect. We’re hearing so many reports where the people will stay in the theatres or in the hallways of the theatres and pray after they’ve seen the movie. I’m talking about across racial and denominational lines. It’s been extraordinary.
“From a filmmaker’s standpoint we did not expect this. Our films in the past have been at number four at the box office and have had strong results but nothing like this. We prayed for God to do something extraordinary, and now we’re seeing it happen, part of me says we can’t be surprised at God, I can only be surprised at a movie on a human level doing this well.”