October 21, 2005


Coming Soon to a Church Near You: Hollywood Skips Movie Theaters With 3,200-Screen Opening (Alan Cooperman, October 21, 2005, Washington Post)

Left Behind: World at War, the third movie based on the Left Behind series of novels about Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus, will open tonight on 3,200 screens across the country. But it will not be shown in a single commercial theater.

Although more than 70 million copies of the novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins have been sold, the previous two movies flopped at the box office. So, this time, Sony Pictures Entertainment is leaving the multiplexes behind. "World at War" will break out exclusively in churches.

Marketing executives say the decision is part of a major trend. The entertainment industry has discovered there is power, power, product-moving power in selling movies, books and music through churches -- particularly the suburban megachurches that draw thousands of well-heeled worshipers.

Twenty-five years ago, there were fewer than 50 churches in the United States that attracted more than 2,000 people each week. Today, there are more than 1,200. Many boast professional-quality sound systems, large-screen projection systems and comfortable seats that rival those of any commercial theater.

Geez, when our dad was a minister the church had a cheesy movie projector and you'd occassionally show a film in the basement, or at least show it until you melted it accidentally.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 21, 2005 7:46 AM

Did you also have to walk to church uphill both ways? ;-)

Posted by: Rick T. at October 21, 2005 9:00 AM

Sled. It was always snowing.

Posted by: oj at October 21, 2005 9:05 AM

Yes, the frozen-in-place-before-melting film frame was a staple of childrens' memories from school or chuch projectors for generations. Nine time out of 10 the movie also was also projected at about a three degree angle to the perpendicular and was either out-of-focus or had muffled sound for the first minute or so.

Posted by: John at October 21, 2005 9:26 AM

The last two bombed because they probably were bad. I say probably because I haven't seen them, though I saw bits of the first one.

Posted by: RC at October 21, 2005 9:57 AM

One of my favorite moments in filmic history is during a Tex Avery "Droopy" 'toon. There appears to be a fuzzy hair in the projector, jerking further and further up the frame until Droopy reaches down and plucks it out.

We never got movies in church. The nuns who taught first through third grade would occasionally show a religious-themed filmstrip .

Posted by: ted welter at October 21, 2005 10:06 AM


I still remember the "bong" sound to advance the film.

Posted by: Rick T. at October 21, 2005 11:42 AM

Ted --

I remember reading that after that cartoon was first played in theaters, they had to put a special notice on the film cannister telling the projectionist not to bother trying to blow the hair off the film chain, since the hair was on the screen for about 45 seconds.

Posted by: John at October 21, 2005 12:40 PM

Rick T: I think I have to go out and get a Tex Avery collection on DVD. That man was a genius.

Posted by: ted welter at October 22, 2005 12:08 AM