Monday, March 15, 2004

What Mel Has Wrought

While TPOTC has now surpassed $264 million, and is set to become one of the biggest movies, if not the biggest, of all time, there's other interesting news about biblical movies.

On one hand, you have the Hollywood moguls thinking about doing biblical movies now in the wake of Mel's success. This NYTimes article has a lot of good information about the success of TPOTC.

The movie's box-office success has been chewed over in studio staff meetings and at pricey watering holes all over Hollywood, echoed in interviews with numerous executives in the last week. In marketing departments the film is regarded as pure genius; its director, Mel Gibson, is credited with stoking a controversy that yanked the film from the margins of the culture to center stage, presenting it as a must-see.

There is little doubt at the studios that the movie will affect decision making in the short and the long term. Some predict, as one result, a wave of New Testament-themed movies or more religious films in general.

"Will there really be scriptural pictures — Old Testament, New Testament?" asked Peter Guber, a producer who formerly ran Sony Pictures Entertainment. "The answer seemingly is probably so."

But Mr. Gibson himself is looking into other biblically themed movies as well. Of course, only he knows for sure what he's going to do after he finishes work on Mad Max 4, but a movie like this, done correctly, would do much to silence the cries of anti-Semiticism being thrown his way.

The first rumor is that the filmmaker intends to make a movie about the central characters of the holiday of Hanukkah, fighters called the Maccabees. Nearly 200 years before Jesus' birth, they rose against Israel's pagan occupiers and their Jewish allies. The rebels triumphed in a guerilla war, and the temple in Jerusalem was cleansed.

Which entity would you trust to make an honest biblical film?


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