Almighty dollars

Many of the books, films, music and TV shows that make up the parallel universe of the Christian entertainment industry are keyed to the idea of Judgment Day. Odd, writes Peter T. Chattaway — the Rapture is a modern concept with virtually no basis in the Bible

Until it was released in theatres in the United States three weeks ago, Left Behind — an apocalyptic thriller filmed in Ontario and based on a best-selling series of novels by evangelical authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins — was heavily promoted as the breakthrough film that Christian movie buffs had long been waiting for. The eight books in the series to date have sold over 30 million copies, and the film, which stars former teen idol Kirk Cameron as a TV journalist and Flight of the Intruder star Brad Johnson as an airline pilot, reportedly cost $17.4 million to make — though how much of that was spent on promoting the film, and not on the actual production, is a matter of some debate.

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Hollywood: Christian Filmmakers Flock to End-times Features / Bestseller Left Behind is slated for the big screen

The Tribulation Force is coming soon to a theater near you. Namesake Entertainment and Cloud Ten Pictures, the Christian movie studio founded by Canadian broadcasters Peter and Paul Lalonde, announced in July that they are ready to embark on a $17.4 million big-screen adaptation of Left Behind, the best-selling novel by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.

No director or stars have yet been signed to the project, but the film has already attracted the participation of Ralph Winter, an established producer whose credits include Inspector Gadget, Mighty Joe Young, and several Star Trek movies. Shooting begins in Toronto early next year, with the release tentatively set for October 2000.

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