“God’s Not Dead,” one of last year’s faith-based films, starring Kevin Sorbo (“Hercules”), provided some unexpected competition for more mainstream movies. Variety reported on its surprisingly successfully opening weekend:
‘Divergent’ Dominates With $22.8 Million Friday, ‘God’s Not Dead’ Surprises at No. 3 “Despite “Divergent”s box office domination, the surprise winner this weekend is “God’s Not Dead.” The low-budget faith-based film earned $2.8 million on Friday at 780 locations, putting it on track for an $8.5 million weekend. With a per-screen average of $3,590, the pic, which includes cameos from “Duck Dynasty’s” Willie and Korie Robertson, clearly appeals to underserved faith-based audiences.”
“God’s Not Dead” delivered an answer for Christian audiences who were seeking some quality and family-friendly entertainment in the theater. The film followed a young Christian student who challenged his atheist teacher to examine his lack of faith – a raw and emotional story that really translated with viewers. Now, Pure Flix Entertainment is currently wrapping up production for the Little Film That Could’s sequel.
Like its predecessor, “God’s Not Dead 2: He’s Surely Alive” exposes academic hostility to Christianity. It’s a spotlight today’s media is hesitant to shine, yet this film is not afraid to take on such a controversial issue. From the press release:
God’s Not Dead 2 will have audiences standing unashamedly and firmly in their faith during a time when it seems increasingly unfavorable and divisive to do so in the public square… In a story that could easily be pulled from today’s headlines, it’s good to remember some things will always remain the same: "God IS Surely Alive!"
This time around, instead of just fighting for God in school, the main character is forced to defend her faith in court. Melissa Joan Hart (“Sabrina the Teenage Witch”) stars as Grace Wesley, a teacher who is sued for daring to talk about Jesus in her classroom. After the school principal learns about Grace's religious dialogue with her students, she and a civil liberties group drag the Christian teacher to court.
Rounding out the cast are Jesse Metcalfe (“Dallas,” “Desperate Housewives”) as Grace’s lawyer, Fred Thompson (“Law & Order”), Hayley Orrantia (“The Goldbergs”), Robin Givens (“Head of the Class”) and even “Duck Dynasty’s” Sadie Robertson.
Producer David A. R. White, who helped produce both “God’s Not Dead” and “God’s Not Dead 2,” recurs his role as Reverend Dave in the sequel. He spoke with Townhall about his character’s unique placement in the film.
“He never feels he’s being used by God,” White said. “He feels like he’s been put on a shelf. He is called for jury duty and ends up being a juror on the case. He’s perfectly placed by God for a specific reason.”
White also shared how the story is relevant in today’s culture, which is all too hostile to the Christian faith. For one example, he referenced the unnerving situation in Houston last year in which pastors' sermons were subpoenaed for their supposedly discriminatory messages.
“God in schools is a very big thing today," White said. "We’re seeing it all over; it’s being brought to the public light. I think these freedoms are. We want to bring some of these cases out. Even what happened in Houston, pastors having their sermons looked at by the court.”
It is this kind of war on faith that the film will highlight. “God’s Not Dead 2” opens Easter 2016 and will be screened in over 2,000 theaters.