With Nicolas Cage In ‘Left Behind’, Are Faith-Based Movies Set to Go Mainstream?

Nicolas Cage stars in the rapture film "Left Behind."
Nicolas Cage stars in the rapture film “Left Behind.”

And on the eighth day, God created decent lighting and production values.

After years of releasing shoddy products featuring has-beens like Kirk Cameron, the Christian film industry is upping its game in an attempt to win a crossover audience. Is faith-based cinema about to go truly mainstream?

The year certainly has been good to believers. “Heaven Is for Real” with Greg Kinnear, a story about a boy who said he experienced the afterlife during surgery, raked in more than $100 million worldwide. “God’s Not Dead,” about a college student who debates his professor on the existence of a higher power, brought in $62 million. The Jesus biopic “Son of God” made $67 million.

Those three films are among the top Christian earners in history, trailing only 2004’s “The Passion of the Christ,” which made a whopping $611 million.

Rick Santorum, former Republican presidential candidate and now head of Christian film studio EchoLight, tells The Post the success of 2014’s crop of godly films is due to better writing, production and marketing. “Faith-based movies traditionally haven’t been very well done,” he says.

Friday’s “Left Behind” just might be the most mainstream Christian flick yet. It’s based on a popular book series about the rapture, but you might not guess that at first glance.

The film stars marquee talent Nicolas Cage and was directed by Vic Armstrong, a legendary stunt man best known for the “Indiana Jones” series. Cage was persuaded to take the role by his brother, Marc — a DJ on New York City’s Q104.3 FM and, according to Cage, a pastor. Cage plays an airline pilot who must calm his passengers and land his plane after the world is thrown into chaos following the sudden disappearance of millions of people. Watch the trailer and the movie might look like your typical Hollywood disaster epic.

“The goal of this movie was to not be preachy,” says Paul Lalonde, writer and producer of “Left Behind” and CEO of the inspirational film house behind it, Cloud Ten Pictures. “I’ve been preachy in eight movies already. It was time for a different approach. You get too preachy, it turns people off. That’s what’s kept faith-based movies in the church basements and out of the theaters.”

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SOURCE: New York Post
Reed Tucker

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