by Dale Buss, guest reporter
After seven years of marriage, Caleb and Catherine Holt have drifted so far apart that they are ready to move on without each other. Yet as they prepare to enter divorce proceedings, Caleb's dad asks his son to try an experiment: The Love Dare.As the family friendly blockbuster hits the DVD market, what will a Georgia church do for an encore?
While hoping The Love Dare has nothing to do with his parents' newfound faith, Caleb commits to the challenge. But can he attempt to love his wife while avoiding God's love for him? Will he be able to demonstrate love over and over again to a person that's no longer receptive to his love? Or is this just another marriage destined to go up in smoke?
The movie industry loves nothing more than a sequel to a successful film. And Fireproof — with U.S. box-office receipts of $33 million and counting, one of the top-five highest grossing Christian movies of all time — certainly qualifies for encore treatment.
So what will the Kendrick brothers, who produced the movie on a shoestring for Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., do next?
“We’re waiting on God,” said 35-year-old Stephen, who, along with his 38-year-old brother, Alex, shepherd Sherwood’s members. “We do the ‘God’ ideas, not just the ‘good’ ideas. Fireproof was so clearly of God, it was undeniable. We needed to make a movie about marriage; it was laid out right in front of us. We’re waiting for that kind of epiphany with the next project.”
For now, the Kendricks and their partners in the entertainment-media business — including Sony Pictures and Goldwyn Films — are attempting to harvest every good fruit from Fireproof’s established success and continued momentum.
Today's DVD release of the 122-minute film includes a “prank reel” and producers’ commentaries. Meanwhile, The Love Dare, the book featured in the movie, has sold a million copies.
A companion Web site to the book and movie provides relationship-building tools for couples. The Fireproof team has posted e-mails there from more than 2,000 people testifying to the movie’s impact on their lives.
Fireproof’s proceeds could allow the church to finish construction of an 82-acre, $3.5 million sports park in Albany that will provide ministry platforms for its members and recreational opportunities for the public.
However, the Kendricks have made it clear they intend to keep making movies.
“Our desire is to tell many more stories that hopefully will impact the culture and draw people into a relationship with God,” Alex said. “In that regard, we want to change the world.”
The Kendrick brothers and the rest of the leadership of Sherwood Baptist have been praying about where their celluloid endeavors might lead in the future.
A Fireproof sequel seems unlikely, at least for now, Alex told CitizenLink. Instead, the brothers have been seriously considering a movie set in pre-Reformation Europe.
“We have a story line that we’d like to shoot, but it would cost $20 million to $30 million to do it,” Stephen said. “But we do think one day we’ll shoot it. We’ve met guys, and are friends with guys, who are billionaires, so we know that God could provide that money.”
The brothers are taking some time off from the business while simultaneously seeking direction on their next project. As the married fathers of five and four children, respectively, Alex and Stephen want to make sure that “we’re investing in our families and local ministries,” as Alex put it. “Doing a movie and marketing and promoting it can be so consuming.”
Some observers hope Sherwood Pictures’ success will spark more involvement by Christians in the movie business, especially as they see that they increasingly can work around the left’s iron grip on Hollywood.
Focus on the Family is re-airing the Fireproof radio broadcast, in which Dr. James Dobson spoke with Kirk Cameron and Stephen and Alex Kendrick.Request your copy of Fireproof on DVD.Find more information about Fireproof, as well as other movies, video games and music.