Are Christian Films Becoming Increasingly ‘Epic?’

Some families bond over rollercoaster rides and corn dogs at the amusement park, others enjoy leisurely boat rides on the lake, and a whole 13% of outdoors enthusiasts take family camping trips to spend more time with their kids and spouse. We all do “family fun” in our own unique way. Some families wait in anticipation all year for those huge summer films to hit the big screen.

One of the most anticipated movies of the summer is the remake of the classic 1959 film, Ben-Hur. Though the story — based on the best-selling 1880 novel by former Civil War General Lew Wallance — has been brought to the big screen multiple times, it has never been told quite like this. Not only does the 2016 version promote a stronger Christian message, but the cinematography is also expected to be far grander and flashier than ever before.

One of Hollywood’s most prominent Christian couples, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, have produced a number of successful Christian-themed projects, including The Bible, A.D.: The Bible Continues, and Son of God.

Ben-Hur is a big action epic, with a through-line of Jesus interacting with the major characters in our story. It blends an exciting action epic with a message of love and forgiveness coming from Jesus,” Burnett told Catholic World Report in an interview.

Biblical epics have become a genre of their own, particularly since Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ was named in 2006 by Entertainment Weekly “the most controversial film of all time.” Yet, the film sparked a renewed interest in biblical cinema, ultimately leading to “The Year of the Bible” in 2014, considered as such because of the four big epics that hit theaters that year — Son of God; Noah; Exodus; and Mary, Mother of Christ.

As producers have done with the epics that came before, Burnett and Downey hope to inspire their audience. “The 2016 film is a story for a new generation,” said Downey. “We have a great opportunity to reach our young people with the story of Jesus, and bring them to the foot of the Cross.”

Ben-Hur is scheduled for release on August 19. The film is rated PG-13, so at your discretion, bring your kids along and make it a family affair.

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