Letters To God: A Born-Again Box-Office Hit?

LettersToGod.jpg

You heard it here first: the sleeper hit of the summer might not be Letters To Juliet but the altogether more powerfully titled Letters To God. Here's what you need to know: it's a Christian indie, it's going to be in 750 theaters on April 9, and there's already a grass-roots, church-based campaign to get the word out. Oh, and it's being associated with two faith-based flicks that've already demonstrated the power of the Christian dollar.

Here's how Possibility Pictures describe their movie on the official site.

Tyler Doherty (TANNER MAGUIRE) is an extraordinary eight-year-old boy. Surrounded by a loving family and community, and armed with the courage of his faith, he faces his daily battle against cancer with bravery and grace. To Tyler, God is a friend, a teacher and the ultimate pen pal--Tyler's prayers take the form of letters, which he composes and mails on a daily basis.

The letters find their way into the hands of Brady McDaniels (JEFFREY S.S. JOHNSON), a beleaguered postman standing at a crossroads in his life...

Now take a look at the trailer.

Okay, so it's not just me, but Jeffrey S.S. Johnson really does look like Greg Kinnear in 1996's mailman-takes-correspondence-from-the-Creator-flick Dear God, right? But apart from that, Letters To God looks and sounds like your typically mushy Hollywood melodrama, complete with lost-guy redemption through romance with single mum and cancer kid getting his soccer on before living/dying.

That bit at the end? About "From one of the producers of Fireproof and Facing The Giants"? Well, that'd be Letters To God's director, David Nixon. He was assistant director and co-producer on 2008's Fireproof, starring devout evangelical Kirk Cameron, which cost $500,000, went out on 839 screens, took $6.8m on its first weekend and ultimately grossed $33.5m. Facing The Giants, released in 2006, did $1.3m first weekend on 441 screens and ended up with $10.2m. But it did it on an estimated budget of $10,000, having shot on HD with a volunteer cast and crew (including Nixon as co-producer and assistant director) from Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia.

Fireproof had a budget-to-to-box-office ratio of 1:67. Giants was 1:1000. So, with its $3.5m budget and vastly superior production values, where will Letters To God wind up?

And how much difference will the acceleration of Facebook and Twitter make to the Christian word-of-mouth campaign? Letters To Juliet, with all its studio muscle, has 23,900 fans and no Twitter page. Letters to God is up to 30,100 fans and has 1400 Twitter followers.



Comments

  • lolitahaze says:

    HE CHOSE YOU TO BE MY MOM (BECAUSE HE WANTED US BOTH TO SUFFER)! oh great, happy beautiful well lit death from cancer, how touching.
    i'm sorry, people dying from cancer don't always look like that. ugh, christians. they really want in to hollywood or to take over entertainment, you know that, right?

  • Neil says:

    And just what should a person dying from cancer look like? Is there a one look fits all. And "ugh, Christians..." What do you mean by that? Take over Hollywood, to what end? Oh, so we Christians can then use that stage to shove our beliefs down the unbelievers throat? Heaven forbid. Better that the messages of infidelity, murder, depravity, rape, well you get the picture, better that those messages be shoved down our throats? Dohh, what was I thinking, those make money. Yep, Hollwood is the moral guidepost for America: Serial monogamy, when its convienent, same sex relationships, drugs and all manner of deviant behavior that fare not only embraced, but celebrated. Is it any wonder our culture is in the mess it is. Go ahead, keep pushing God out of every aspect of our culture, see where that gets you.

  • Enriquez the Water Bottle says:

    Hey, Neil. Everything OK? You wanna talk about it?

  • The Winchester says:

    People with cancer look like everyone in that crappy Cameron Diaz movie, right?
    You know, the Vegas one.

  • stolidog says:

    Christians get cancer? Their god is really mean.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think this movie looks really touching. No matter what faith someone is or even non-believers, everyone knows someone who has cancer. When it's children, it's hard to believe that such a little person can completely move people so much. I think this movie will be an excellent one to go see, if not for its religious tone, then for the story of a little boy fighting the battle of his life with such enthusiasm for life and finding a way to cope with his illness. This will definitely be a tear jerker!!

  • Martini Shark says:

    Thanks for the tip ML, I'm heading over to that movie-futures site to buy some shares!

  • becky says:

    HMMM, my 3 1/2 year old passed away in 2006 with Neuroblastoma, I think this movie is a wonderful movie for awareness! Also My Sisters Keeper with Cameron Diaz, also a great movie. If these kids did not have God in their lives they would have nothing to look forward to.

  • Lisa Jefferys says:

    Everyone was rooting for 'Letters to God' to succeed. It's a tear-jerking movie that gives honor to God.
    Another film, Suing The Devil, I hear is coming out next January. Has anyone heard of it? It's about some guy who sues the devil for $8 trillion. I understand it's an amazing faith-based movie.

  • Miles says:

    I heard this quote from somewhere the other day: "If our God was small enough to understand, then he wouldn't be big enough to worship." I don't understand all there is or why innocent children get cancer, but I know that "God works for the good of those who love him." (Romans 8:28) And through a child whose God so "cruelly" gave him cancer, this movie shows Tyler praising him anyway, knowing he was going to heaven, knowing he had helped so many other people through his faith come to Jesus.

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