Maybe someone in Hollywood read a tweet, or ate some Ezekiel bread, but all at once a wave of specific "faith" releases began to crest. The wave crashed in 2014, which saw Son of God (February), God’s Not Dead and Noah (March), Heaven Is for Real (April), Mom's Night Out (May), Persecuted (July), The Song and Believe Me (September), the Left Behind remake starring Nicolas Cage (October), Saving Christmas (November), and Exodus: Gods and Kings (December). As a Christian film critic, I got calls from reporters all over the place, asking whether I could comment on what the "Year of the Bible Film" was all about. It was a thing.
Those aren't ephemeral numbers: in addition to the incredible box-office hauls of God's Not Dead and Heaven is for Real, several of the films made money (including Mom's Night Out, which grossed $10 million on a $5 million budget, and Left Behind, which grossed $19.7 millon on $15 million). Son of God was a recut version of ratings juggernaut The Bible, which raked in 10-13 million viewers for the History Channel and led to a second series on NBC, A.D. The Bible Continues. And the trend continued in 2015 with Old Fashioned (competing with Fifty Shades of Grey on Valentine’s Day weekend), Do You Believe (March), War Room (August), the unfortunately titled 90 Minutes in Heaven, the thriller Captive (September), and football movie Woodlawn (October). We're barely a quarter of the way into 2016 and have already weathered The Masked Saint, Risen, The Young Messiah, and Miracles From Heaven. This week we get God's Not Dead 2 -- a missed titling opportunity, if ever there was one -- with a Ben-Hur remake and an adaptation of the popular novel Same Kind of Different as Me on the way.