War Room has set another milestone.
Stephen Kendrick and his brother Alex made waves in a big way when their second film, Facing the Giants, grossed $10 million nationwide despite being produced on a shoestring by an almost all-volunteer crew. Their next two films were even bigger successes, and now their fifth film — War Room, produced for a reported $3 million — has earned over $50 million in its first four weeks. It has also earned a place in the history books as the first Evangelical Christian movie to be #1 at the box office.
Might as well note this milestone: In 1999, The Omega Code stunned the movie world by becoming the first evangelical Christian movie to crack the weekly box-office top ten. Now, in 2015, War Room has become the first such film to reach #1.
The kids are back in school today, so it’s kind of fitting that today marks the DVD and Blu-Ray release of Moms’ Night Out, a film about a woman who wants to get away from the kids for a few hours and spend some time with her friends.
Then again, the woman in question has a pro-homeschooling bumper sticker on her minivan, so maybe it wouldn’t be so easy for her to get away from the kids today. Hmmm.
In any case, the film is out on home video, and it comes with a number of bonus features, including an audio commentary by the directors, some deleted scenes, and interviews with the cast, the producer and the directors.
I saw Moms’ Night Out over a week ago and have been meaning to say something about it ever since, but until now I’ve had to juggle a couple of work assignments as well as the usual distractions that come with being a stay-at-home dad — and that’s kind of fitting, given that the film’s main character is a stay-at-home parent who also has a blog of her own.
So I can kind of relate to Allyson (Sarah Drew), the film’s protagonist. When, say, her kids and the messes they make drive her nuts, but she finds that she just can’t bear to paint over the stick-figure portraits that the kids have drawn on the wall, I know exactly what she’s going through.
And yet, I’m also quite conscious of the fact that this movie wasn’t exactly made for people like me. It’s a movie about moms, and it quite consciously extols the virtues of motherhood while portraying dads as the kind of people who are easily panicked and overwhelmed when someone asks them to “babysit” their own kids for a few hours.
In my review of God’s Not Dead, I made a point of contrasting the “Christian ghetto” approach of that film with the more open-minded “Christian niche” approach of films like the ones made by Alex and Stephen Kendrick (Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof and Courageous).
So I figured it might be good to round up the various articles that I have written about the Kendricks and their films; the list includes two op-ed pieces, a review, and several interviews with the filmmakers and their collaborators.