Newsbites: The independent Christian film edition!

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Here are three quick news items that came up over the past week.

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Filmmakers sue God’s Not Dead producers for $100 million

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God’s Not Dead was a big hit at the box office two years ago. Produced for only $2 million, it grossed over $60 million in North America alone — nearly double what any independent faith-based movie not directed by Mel Gibson had done by then.

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Box office: God’s Not Dead 2 and Batman v Superman both perform below (their not-high-to-begin-with) expectations

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It was a weekend of setbacks for “faith-based” films and superhero movies.

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Review: God’s Not Dead 2 (dir. Harold Cronk, 2016)

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There’s a joke waiting to be told in the fact that God’s Not Dead 2 is coming out on April Fool’s Day. The Psalms suggest it takes a fool to say in his heart that there is no God, so perhaps the filmmakers thought they were having a private laugh at the unbeliever’s expense when they picked the release date. Thing is, given all the sloppy apologetics, preachy dialogue and silly plot contortions that lie within this “faith-based” film, it isn’t the atheists who come out looking foolish in the end.

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Watch: Five TV spots for Risen, plus an endorsement from the author of the book that inspired God’s Not Dead

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Risen had a decent first weekend at the North American box office, so now the studio is doing what it can to encourage good word of mouth — not only to help keep the movie in local theatres for a while, but to help it roll out overseas as well.

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Box-office update: Persecuted is another “faith-based” dud

The “faith-based” genre produced another dud this past weekend. Persecuted — in which an evangelist is framed for murder by a corrupt politician, thereby unleashing “an unprecedented era of persecution” — opened to a measly $851,391 on 736 screens this week.

The film ranked #19 at the box office. Four of the films that ranked above it actually played on fewer screens (Think Like a Man Too, Edge of Tomorrow, Chef and especially Boyhood), and the film’s $1,157 per-screen average was the second-lowest in the top 25.

This comes just five weeks after the once-hyped Alone Yet Not Alone opened to $534,626 — on only 103 screens! — before sputtering out with less than a million bucks altogether. (The film had earned $887,851 as of July 2, and presumably not much more since then.)

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