Moviegoers not enraptured by Left Behind: The Movie
"We're going for number one at the box office," Paul LaLonde, producer of Left Behind: The Movie, told Reuters last week. "We want to be number one." It wasn't even number 12, and grossed a mere $2.55 million (The Wedding Planner, the weekend's top film, brought in an estimated $12 million). Part of its failing certainly had to be due to poor reviews. "A classic case of preaching to the converted, this relentlessly boring movie is unlikely to appeal to anyone except hard-core fans of Christian sci-fi," said the New York Post. Similarly, the Chicago Tribune complained, "Christian moviegoers might find the film interesting, but secular viewers may feel alienated and belittled by it." Another problem was that the film was showing on a mere 950 screens—compared to The Wedding Planner's 2,785. (Still, it also got beat by O Brother, Where Art Thou, which played on a paltry 809 screens.) We'll see what effect the numbers have on the LaLondes' much-ridiculed strategy of releasing the film on video first and having Christians canvass neighborhoods to evangelize neighbors about the film.
The Holy Land Experience opens to sad protest in Orlando
For the last week, media outlets worldwide have reported that the opening day of the $16 million, 15-acre Christian theme park The Holy Land Experience would be met by Jewish protests. And indeed it was. Two members of the California-based Jewish Defense League showed up to picket the park's nefarious plans to tell people about Jesus. "We are here to make a militant, angry statement," Jewish Defense League Chairman Irv Rubin said yesterday. But two people isn't militant or angry. It's just sad. Meanwhile, so many visitors streamed in that the park had to turn people away, reports The Orlando Sentinel. And other Jews are praising the park's efforts. "Anything that promotes brotherhood and spirituality has to be good,'' Barry Alter, president of the Jewish Federation of Broward County, told The Miami Herald.
Missions, Ministry, and Evangelism:
- Praise the Lord and gas up the Harley | Unchained bike gang is `Property of Christ. … 100% for Jesus' (The Toronto Star)
- A church sells its silver, and finds a silver lining (The New York Times)
- Churches find believers in Silicon Valley | California's multicultural high-tech workers offer unique challenges to clergy (Associated Press/Chicago Tribune)
- United Methodists on edge of schism over homosexuality | Chances seem slim for compromise by liberals, conservatives (The Sun, Baltimore, Maryland)
- Ablaze with bishop's vision | The new $60-million cathedral of the Church of God in Christ rises on a former site of urban decay as a testament to the vibrancy of the black church in L.A. (Los Angles Times)
National Prayer Breakfast:
- Prayer breakfast a spawning affair | This quintessentially American custom has been duplicated into the farthest reaches of the world (UPI)
- Bush sees greater tolerance of religion (The Washington Times)
Other stories of interest:
- South Florida rabbi to receive rare honor from Catholics (The Miami Herald)
- Is religion latest fad in sports? (B.G. Kelley, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
- Christian authors keeping the faith in romance novels (Religion News Service/Chicago Tribune)
- Concert introduces new Hawaiian hymnbook (The Honolulu Star-Bulletin)
- Discrimination in the church? | Three Hispanic employees of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago have filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Chicago Sun-Times)
- Thou shalt not covet | Thus reads the biblical commandment. But even the clergy are not immune to a little worldliness when it comes to their homes. Vicar's wife Anne Atkins confesses the sin of vicarage envy. (The Telegraph, London)
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