Back in 2005 I wrote a series of posts when I discovered the Disney Company was trying to market their Narnia films through pulpits. At the time, Disney was offering pastors a chance to win a vacation to London if they mentioned the films in a sermon. The idea to leverage sermons for movie marketing was the byproduct of Mel Gibson's successful plan to use churches to push The Passion of the Christ project after the usual Hollywood distributors bypassed it.
Since The Passion and Narnia, numerous other films with far less Christian content have tried to sneak into the pulpit including The Road and Evan Almighty. Marketers know that even an indirect endorsement of a movie by a pastor during a sermon can be one of the most effective means of motivating consumers–it's as close to God endorsing a film as they can get.
The latest attempt to put a cash register behind the pulpit is MinistryResources.org (tag line: "The stuff you use to fill the pews." I throw up a little bit in my mouth every time I read that.) They've contracted with Warner Brothers and DC Comics to create a ministry resource website for the upcoming Superman film Man of Steel.
Let me be transparent–I'm a big Superman fan (here's proof), and I'm really looking forward to Man of Steel. I also admit that the Superman mythology has always contained Christological themes. A celestial father sends his only son to earth to guide and save humanity–that sounds familiar. And apparently Man of Steel plays with biblical imagery, including a scene with a young Clark Kent talking to a priest with a stained glass image of Jesus positioned just over his shoulder.
But pastors can't be naive to think Warner Brothers/DC ...