Alissa Wilkinson has an article in The Atlantic under the headline ‘Can Indie Filmmakers Save Religious Cinema?’ It’s a question that I and others have been asking for at least 20 years, and I imagine other Christian film writers were asking it even earlier (going back at least to 1981’s Chariots of Fire, which was distributed by Warner in North America and by Fox overseas but was produced independently).
The Passion of The Christ was an independent movie, paid for entirely out of Mel Gibson’s pocket. The Prince of Egypt was an animated film that emphasized the common ground between Jews, Christians and Muslims. The Last Temptation of Christ was a low-budget art-house flick based on a heretical novel.
You would have to go back at least as far as King David, the mid-1980s box-office flop starring Richard Gere, to find another live-action movie produced by a major Hollywood studio and based directly on the Bible. And you would have to go back even further — to the bathrobe epics of the 1960s, at least — to find a mainstream biblical movie that was as blatantly Christian as The Nativity Story.