Faith-based films can bring in impressive sales at the box office—for instance, The Passion of the Christ ranks among the highest-grossing films of all time, earning over $600 million since its release in 2004. This year, moviegoers looking for theological themes can benefit from partnerships between publishers and Hollywood studios. Find out more about new book-to-film adaptations such as Jesus Revolution, Left Behind, and others below.
Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist (January 26)
Set for a limited run in theaters nationwide, Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye’s bestselling Left Behind series is undergoing another film adaptation, this one starring Kevin Sorbo and Neil McDonough. First published in 1995, the apocalyptic Christian novels have sold over 80 million copies, according to publisher Tyndale. The first film adaptation in 2000 starred Kirk Cameron, and today, the Left Behind franchise includes several other films, video games, graphic novels, and music.
Based on the 2005 novel by bestselling author Karen Kingsbury, A Thousand Tomorrows follows a foolhardy bull rider and a competitive horsewoman who together encounter lessons on faith, sacrifice, and devotion, according to publisher, FaithWords. The limited series will appear on Pureflix, a streaming service that focuses on faith-based and family-friendly movies and television series. While Sony Affirm and Red Clay Studios produced A Thousand Tomorrows, Kingsbury is handling all future adaptations of her books after launching her own production studio last year.
Jesus Revolution (February 24)
Adapted from Greg Laurie's 2018 book (written with Ellen Vaughn) Jesus Revolution: How God Transformed an Unlikely Generation and How He Can Do It Again Today (Baker), the film tells the true story of how teenagers started a religious movement in Southern California in the early 1970s. Kimberly Williams-Paisley stars as a struggling mother alongside Joel Courtney, who portrays a young Laurie. Kelsey Grammer also stars in the film as a pastor.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (April 28)
Judy Blume’s bestselling middle-grade novel, first published by Bradbury Press in 1970, is being made into a film starring Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, and Abby Ryder Fortson. The story follows sixth grader Margaret Simon searching for her identity after moving from New York City to the suburbs and while growing up in a Christian-Jewish household. Today, the title is published by Simon & Schuster’s Atheneum Books for Young Readers imprint.
The Exorcist (October 13)
In addition to faith-based inspirational movies, William Peter Blatty’s 1971 theological horror novel featuring a12-year-old girl possessed by an evil entity and the two Catholic priests who try to help her is getting a Hollywood makeover this year. The book was first adapted into a hit film in 1973, becoming the first horror film to be nominated for the best picture Academy Award. The reboot stars Leslie Odom Jr. as the possessed child’s father, as well as Ellen Burstyn, who appeared in the original film, and Ann Dowd. The book has sold over 13 million copies, according to HarperCollins.