After Easter, some wonderful top redemptive and family picks are topping the box office. They include in order: Breakthrough, Dumbo, Penguins, Amazing Grace, Unplanned, and Run the Race. Read more on why redemptive Christian, family films are topping the box office after Easter.
Breakthrough is based on the true story of John Smith, a 14-year-old boy who drowned in Lake Saint Louis in January 2014 and was dead for nearly an hour. CPR was performed on John for 27 minutes to no avail in the emergency room. Then John’s adoptive mother, Joyce Smith (played by Chrissy Metz in the film), came into the emergency room, praying loudly. Suddenly, there was a pulse. John was revived. However, the miracles continued because two weeks later, he walked out of the hospital without any brain, lung, or any other physical impairment. Today, John is alive and well. He is graduating from high school and preparing to study for ministry. This movie has been number three at the box office since its Easter release. It is appropriate for young teens through adults.
Some of the most influential adoption and foster-care organizations are partnering with Breakthrough to help share the love of this movie. To learn more about these vital issues, be sure to connect with the Dave Thomas Foundation and the National Foster Parent Association.
Dumbo is a live action remake of the 1941 Disney animated classic. This movie tells the well-loved story of the baby elephant who can fly with his big ears and is separated from his mother. Dumbo helps to save a struggling circus but learns there are ugly secrets beneath the glamourous surface. This is a wonderful, well-made movie with themes about the value of family and about helping others. It is directed by Tim Burton and features Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, and Danny DeVito. This PG movie is appropriate for older children through adults.
Penguins is a lovely Disney, IMAX, and nature documentary with themes of love and family in Antarctica. Narrator, Ed Helms comically voices Steve the penguin. Annually, the male penguins precede the females to prepare nests. Steve is a little bit behind the other males in this effort. The movie is spectacular and entertaining for the whole family.
Amazing Grace is a documentary which presents the live recording of Aretha Franklin’s album at The New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles in January 1972. This is lost concert film from 1972 features the amazing Aretha Franklin as she sings Gospel songs with the support of her band members and the Southern California Community Choir. The music in Amazing Grace includes favorite hymns like “Mary Don’t You Weep,” “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” and “Amazing Grace.” This film is appropriate for all ages. (The album made during the concert became the best-selling Gospel album of all time.) This movie would be a wonderful addition to a church or personal movie library or collection. It is appropriate for the whole family
Unplanned released on Friday, March 29, in theaters across the nation, garnered $6.3 million over the first weekend. This was a very strong opening, despite the many hindrances that the movie faced, which included the following: limited release, denial of advertising on many networks and platforms; negative reviews from mainstream publications; and the “R” from the MPAA, although it is more of a PG movie. As an underdog movie which multiple publications predicting that it would only open to $2-3 million, the movie’s opening weekend far exceeded expectations. This fine movie is appropriate for older children through adults.
On Saturday morning, following the movie’s opening night, Unplanned’s, Twitter account was suspended briefly. Lead actress Ashley Bratcher tweeted saying, “Trying to figure out why the @UnplannedMovie account has been suspended. We need answers. #unplannedmovie.”
Then, celebrities like Patricia Heaton and others commented on the Unplanned Twitter page’s suspension, and about Twitter’s negligence to verify the movie. In response, Twitter restored the page. As of April 1, Unplanned surpassed Planned Parenthood’s Twitter followers.
Cary Solomon, the co-writer/director and producer of Unplanned, said the movie’s success the first weekend was “massive turn away at box office; not enough screens or large enough theaters. Chains are putting us in bigger theaters and opening more screens…. God is moving His cloud of fire forward.” For the second weekend the movie remained at number four at the box office and has continued to remain strong. Unplanned has stunned the mainstream media, which resisted and blocked it, due to the large following without mainstream media support, and it has strengthened the turning tide from Pro-Abortion to Pro-Life across the country, especially in legislation throughout the states.
Unplanned is based on the true story of Abby Johnson, who works for Planned Parenthood because she thinks their goal is to prevent pregnancies. It is a well-made movie. It starts with Abby, who is now the director of the local Planned Parenthood office, asked to go into the operation room, where she has not gone before, to hold the ultrasound device so the doctor can suck out the baby. Running to the bathroom, she vomits. The movie then cuts back to how Abby as a young woman at Texas A&M, who is from a Christian home, becomes involved with Planned Parenthood. From there, she becomes more and more involved until the movie is back to the opening scene. She eventually leaves her job and Planned Parenthood takes her to court. Although this movie has been rated R due to its content, it is suitable for older children through adults. Sonoma Christian Home has an interview with Ashley Bratcher who portrays Abby.
RUN THE RACE has been a top limited released movie. It is about the weight of the world on two brothers bound by brotherly love. Zach and David Truett live in peaks and valleys as they are cheered by crowds but live in a lonely home without their mother or father. RUN THE RACE concerns two desperate brothers willing to sacrifice today for a better tomorrow. As he reels from his mother’s death and his father’s abandonment, Zach, an All-State athlete, finds hope and glory on the football field, as he works to earn a college scholarship and the brothers’ ticket out of town.
When a devastating injury puts Zach, along with his hopes and dreams, on the sidelines, brother David laces up his track cleats to salvage their future and point Zach toward hope. Zach’s knee injury has a silver lining in his growing closer to Ginger, who is a nurse at the hospital. However, just as things get serious with Ginger, Zach’s doubts about God threaten to tear them apart, so he does what comes naturally and runs.
The story of RUN THE RACE enthralled actor Jake McEntire that he spent years persevering to get it from his imagination and onto theater screens. He wrote it, produced it, and even acted in it.
RUN THE RACE similarly attracted others, including brothers Tim and Robby Tebow. The Heisman Trophy winner and his brother read an early version of the script and decided to get actively involved as first-time feature film executive producers.
“RUN THE RACE is about so much more than football. This is a story about overcoming the hard issues of life, about the power of sacrifice, the power of family, and the power of forgiveness,” Tim Tebow said. “I love being a part of a project like this because it will impact lives, inspire hope and even prompt action. When I read the script, I knew this was an important project to get behind.”
“The script pulled me in right away, and I wanted to bring it to life cinematically,” Robby Tebow said. “As somebody with brothers in a big, super-close family that has gone through a lot together, it resonated with me on a deep level.”
RUN THE RACE, which is appropriate for young teens through adults, shows what’s possible when you run to, not away from, the overwhelming love of God. See this movie to watch which worldview will help them run and conquer the long-term race. Their story is a universal one that informs and inspires all who see this meaningful movie. See my exclusive interview with writer, actor, producer Jake McEntire on Sonoma Christian Home. The film will be available on Blu-ray™ and DVD at all retailers nationwide on June 18.
Although dates can change, here is what is known about the “what and when” of some of the most promising family and redemptive movies for a range of ages yet due in theaters in 2019: 4/22- Bright Ones; 4/29, 30 – Kingdom Men Rising; Tolkien- 5/10; 5/24- Aladdin; 6/7- The Other Side of Heaven 2; 6/21– Toy Story 4; 6/7– Secret Lives of Pets 2; 7/29– Lion King; 8/2 –Dora the Explorer; 8/23-Overcomer; 9/12- The Islands; 12/31- Finding Grace; and more.
Other promising movies in various stages of development and production for the future include: Passion of the Christ 2: The Resurrection; One Nation Under God; The Penitent Thief; East Oil Texas; Thai Rescue; Roe V. Wade; Gigantic; CATS; Heavenquest: Peter Pan; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair; In God’s Underground; Palau the Movie; Do You Believe 2; The Chronicles of Narnia, The Magician’s Nephew; The Ten Commandments; King David; Pontius Pilate; Butterfly Circus; The Adventures of Tintin 2; West Side Story, You are My Friend, God Calling, Walking with Herb; Heavens to Betsy; Let Go and Let God; The Wake of Light; The Breaking Point; The Follower; Our God is Good; and more.
Please continue to search for and support the best movies for your friends and families. Be aware that the titles and trailers of some movies make them appear to be family-friendly when they are not. More and more Hollywood studios and independent ones are making better and better family movies, but there are also movies that may seem family-friendly that have politically correct themes with subtle messages that you may find incorrect or blatant language and situations that you find disturbing.
Some movie publicity makes some movies seem family-friendly; but when they are seen at a theater end up marred by foul language and other crass, inappropriate elements. All seemingly family-friendly movies are not equal in terms of family values, including superhero movies! It is critical for movie viewers who want uplifting, entertaining, and wholesome experiences for themselves and those they love to research movies written by trustworthy sources before they see them. Further, all movie review and recommendation sources are not equal. Make sure you read reviews by those you respect who have previewed movies you are considering. All movies that glitter is not gold, even with cute and seemingly innocent characters or with light humor. Buyer beware. Make careful, informed choices. The best family movies can be entertaining, educational, and edifying.
The best is yet to come when we continue to support the ongoing reformation in content and renaissance in artistry in media and movies. As audiences continue to see good family and redemptive movies in theaters, keeping them at the top of the box office, more good movies like them are being made. Even the mainstream media has been amazed at the success of recent faith-based movies, due to consumer interest and support.
Watch for many top picks this year of redemptive movies that continue to improve in the ongoing renaissance of artistry and reformation of content in movies. Remember that the teams of good family and redemptive movies include consumers, who determine the success and wide global distribution of good family, redemptive movies. We are making great advancements in encouraging major Hollywood studios to produce good family and redemptive movies, as well as supporting independent studios to do the same. This is the reason so many redemptive Christian, family films are topping the box office after Easter and this year.
Here’s to a blessed 2019!
To learn more about this author, please visit Dr. Diane Howard