Christian Retailing

DVD Beat October 2012 Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 02:45 PM America/New_York

HardflipWhen life does a 180: Hardflip follows the story of Caleb Jones (Randy Wayne, To Save A Life), a young skater whose ill mother (Rosanna Arquette, The Whole Nine Yards) and absent father (John Schneider, October Baby) leave him reaching for the only hope he has—becoming a sponsored skater. After finding a stack of old love letters, Caleb sets out to find the father he never knew, learning to let go of his anger and pain, while forgiving those who hurt him most. Released this month, the 108-minute film retails for $19.95 and is distributed by Bridgestone Multimedia Group.



ThePlayersManualAccording to the Book: In The Player’s Manual, an evangelist named Levi takes viewers on a journey through the lives of familiar characters in today’s urban communities, illustrating with gritty reality the relevance of Scripture to modern-day life in the hood. Released last month by Black Christian Entertainment and GT Media and distributed by EMI CMG Distribution, the 91-minute movie retails for $14.99.



NewHopeTriumph lies within: New Hope was written and produced in response to the high number of suicides in Ouachita Parish, La., in a 13-month period. The inspirational drama stars Ben Davies (Courageous) as Lucas, a high school basketball star who is fiercely loyal to the memory of his brother Chase, who died at is own hand, shaking his close-knit Southern town. Released this month, the 120-minute film retails for $19.95 and is distributed by Bridgestone Multimedia Group.



WoodLife choices: Following Earth and Wind, Wood is the third film in best-selling author and pastor Erwin Raphael McManus’ “Signs” series. In Genesis 3, man chooses his first act of rebellion at the tree of life. Portraying a hunter sprinting through the jungle, the film shows that while expressing love and living in faith can be difficult, those decisions can be creative and spiritual acts. The 12-minute DVD, which retails for $14.99 and is designed for small groups or individual study, released last month from David C Cook.



IAmGabrielAn angel in Texas: I Am … Gabriel weaves multiple stories of individuals in Promise, Texas, touched by tragedy, to an unlikely messenger from God. The film stars Dean Cain as Sheriff Brody (Lois & Clark), John Schneider as Doc (The Dukes of Hazzard, Smallville) and Gavin Casalegno as Gabriel. Produced by 2nd Fiddle Entertainment and Heaven’s Promise Productions, and distributed by EchoLight Studios, the 93-minute film, which retails for $22.98, was released in late August.



TheSamuelMorrisStoryFrom slave to missionary: The dramatic events that led an African boy prince to take a new name, then become a missionary to the United States is chronicled in The Samuel Morris Story. The latest 30-minute animated biography in “The Torchlighters: Heroes of the Faith” line for children 8-12 is distributed by Vision Video. Retailing for $14.99, the DVD, released last month, comes with a four-lesson leader’s guide, reproducible study materials, English and Spanish tracks, and subtitles.



EyesToSeeSuffering and hope: Inspired by the personal experiences of filmmaker David de Vos, Eyes to See follows Ray (Matthew Marsden, Coronation Street), a news cameraman who was assigned to capture the damage from a 2010 earthquake in Haiti that left more than 300,000 dead. Ray is forced to choose between doing his job and helping the quake victims. Released last month, the 105-minute drama retails for $17.95 and is distributed by Bridgestone Multimedia Group.



YouveGotAFriendA pal for a champ: After his parents die in a car accident, 12-year-old Bobby Graham dreams of becoming a soap-box-derby champion in You've Got A Friend. But his aunt and uncle aren't supportive. Bobby sneaks away to befriend the town recluse (John Schneider), who is also the former derby champ. Together they design and create a victory-worthy car. Released last month by GT Media and distributed by EMI CMG Distribution, the 85-minute, Dove-approved film retails for $14.99.

'Dolphin Tale' coming to Christian stores Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Monday, 12 December 2011 09:00 AM America/New_York
Based on a true story, the inspirational hit Dolphin Tale will be released Dec. 20 on DVD by Warner Home Entertainment Group and distributed by Word Distribution to the Christian retail channel.

Produced by the Alcon Entertainment, the movie studio that made The Blind Side, the family-friendly movie tells the story of 11-year-old Sawyer who rescues a beached dolphin named Winter that was caught in a fisherman's trap in Florida, forming a unique connection with the animal.

Starring Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd and Oscar winner Morgan Freeman, Dolphin Tale was a suprise hit, making $70 million in the box office when it was released in more than 3,500 theaters in September, according to

Rated PG for some mild thematic elements, the film—suitable for children—was marketed to the faith-based community, especially home school group screenings. Connick portrays Dr. Clay Haskett, an animal doctor and a Christian in real life who runs the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Fla.

The movie received positive reviews. "Adversity abounds on both land and sea in a well-meaning if stridently heart-tugging film about overcoming challenges," the Los Angeles Times observed. Christianity Today magazine added: "Though overly schmaltzy, this is still a cute and inspiring true story for the whole family." MovieGuide magazine said that the movie "respects life and extols intelligent design." Focus on the Family's said noted that "it's one of those rare movies families can have fun wading through without fear of stepping on some sharp junk hidden just beneath the surface."

The single disc DVD retails for $28.99. Click here for more information on Dolphin Tale.

'Seven Days in Utopia' hits stores Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Sunday, 27 November 2011 11:00 PM America/New_York
Seven Days in Utopia, based on David L. Cook's best-selling 2009 novel Golf's Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia (Zondervan), will be released Nov. 29 on DVD and distributed by Provident Distribution to the Christian retail channel.

The sports drama about a struggling young professional golfer who discovers the difference between success and significance made $4.3 million in the box office when it was released in 561 theaters in September, according to

In August, Zondervan released a movie tie-in edition to the film—which stars Academy Award-winners Robert Duvall and Melissa Leo. Cook was one of the screenwriters of the movie.

In the film, Texas golfer Luke Chisholm (Lucas Black) drops out of the sport after being publicly humiliated during a tournament. When Chisholm unexpectedly gets stranded in Utopia, Texas for a week, he meets an eccentric rancher and former professional golfer Johnny Crawford (Duvall) who teaches him not only about a better swing, but a better way of life.

The G-rated film was heavily marketed to the faith-based community, especially pastors' screenings. The producers created a grassroots campaign, which includes a ministry resource site.

The movie received some mixed reviews. "While corny at times, this sports drama is sure to find a welcoming audience with its down-home Christian message," The Hollywood Reporter observed. "An otherwise cornball, inspirational tale about finding God through golf, Seven Days in Utopia must be given full credit for coming up with something new in movies: To learn what happens at the end, you've got to go online."

The Orlando Sentinel noted that the film "treats its subject as if it's a tap-in for par, and thus, most of the best clubs were left in the bag." Variety added that the movie was "little more than a pleasantly passable Christian sports parable delivered as a sort of Texan golfer's version of The Karate Kid."

The DVD retails for $28.99. Click here for more information on Seven Days in Utopia.

Baseball Drama Is Pitched At Prodigals Print Email
Written by Staff   
Monday, 15 August 2011 09:34 AM America/New_York

MilltownPrideDVDThe 1920s’ baseball drama Milltown Pride (7-27985-01410-4, $24.99) marks a return to feature-making for Unusual Films, the Bob Jones University (BJU) production group with a long history of movie work perhaps best known for releases Sheffey (1977) and The Printing (1991).

Setting the story of the prodigal son in the sports world, the movie follows Will Wright as he leaves his privileged background to pursue a baseball career by joining a local textile-mill team. 

His journey includes an encounter with real-life evangelist Billy Sunday, himself a former baseball star, who is portrayed in the film by scriptwriter David Burke. 

Filming took place in four states, including at a baseball field with stands dating back to the time period. “They were still in good-enough condition for us to use, though we had to shore them up a bit,” said Darren Lawson, producer. Cast and crew were largely drawn from the faculty and student body, though several hundred extras from the local community were drafted in for some scenes.

Lawson—who is also dean of the school of fine arts and communication at BJU—said that though Unusual Films had concentrated on children’s productions in recent years, “there has been such a resurgence in Christian filmmaking. We wanted to get back in the game.”

The film was intended to be encouraging “for anyone who knows someone who has lost his or her way, who has lost their focus on God,” said Lawson. 

“There is hope, just by turning back to God.”

Running 2 hours and 15 minutes, Milltown Pride is distributed by Vision Video. To order, call 800-523-0226.

Couples’ Retreat Offers Lessons Through Laughter Print Email
Written by Staff   
Monday, 15 August 2011 09:29 AM America/New_York

Out-in-the-woods comedy offers ‘simple truth’ answer to some of the ‘hot topics’ that challenge marriages

The makers of Marriage Retreat (Pure Flix Entertainment, 8-93261-00189-9, $19.99) have ventured into largely unexplored territory for Christian filmmakers—not so much with the subject, as their approach.MarriageRetreatDVD

They play for laughs as three couples head off for a weekend marriage-enrichment course, hoping that the comedy will sweeten the lessons about love and relationships.

But movie humor is “a tricky thing to deliver” to a faith audience, noted David A.R. White, one of the male leads who also helps run the production company that made the movie, Pure Flix Entertainment. 

“Some people get offended really easily by comedy, so a lot of people in our marketplace really have stayed away from  it, for the most part,” he said.

“We wanted to approach it head-on. We think it’s important to laugh at ourselves. Humor can lower people’s defenses; their walls come down and it allows the message to penetrate.”

White plays an architect whose marriage is strained—his wife wants a baby while he is reluctant to become a parent because of scars from an abusive father. The pair is joined on the weekend retreat by one couple dealing with control issues and another struggling with the husband’s gambling addiction.

“We take these hot topics and explore the relationships in a comedic way but ultimately pointing to the cross,” White said. “Ultimately, God is the answer to all of our problems. That can sound really cliched, but it is also such a simple truth that without the Lord in the center of our marriage, we can’t succeed.”

The 85-minute feature sees White play opposite his real-life wife, Andrea Logan White. What the pair and their friends think is going to be a cozy conference center turns out to be a rustic retreat run by a quirky couple, Jeff Fahey (LostMachete) and Victoria Jackson (Saturday Night LiveBaby Boom).

For more information or to order Marriage Retreat, go to

'Soul Surfer' arrives on a strong box-office wave Print Email
Written by Staff   
Tuesday, 28 June 2011 09:36 AM America/New_York

Soul-SurferOne of the most anticipated inspirational DVDs of the year arrives in stores next month—Soul Surfer (0-43396-38019-6, $30.99), the true-life story of teen Bethany Hamilton's remarkable return to surfing after losing an arm in a shark attack.

The 106-minute, PG drama features AnnaSophia Robb as Hamilton with Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt as her parents. With singer Carrie Underwood making her acting debut in the film, Soul Surfer was heavily promoted to the faith-based community on its theatrical release and saw a positive response, said Dave Mechem, sales manager for Affirm Films/Sony Home Pictures Entertainment.

"The biggest thing we were excited about was the CinemaScore rating," he said. "It was an A-plus, the first film to get that this year." With a production budget of $18 million, the film took twice that at the box office within a month of release.

The Aug. 2 release DVD comes with extras that include The Heart of a Soul Surfer documentary, which tells the true story of Hamilton's experience and features interviews with her family. In addition, Soul Sisters looks at the friendship that developed between Hamilton and Robb, while two other featurettes look at how the surfing scenes were filmed and the technology used to "lose" Robb's arm. 

Mechem said that promotional campaigns were being finalized that would see the DVD release being supported in Christian chains with displays also featuring related book releases, like Raising a Soul Surfer by Cheri Hamilton (Regal Books).

Soul Surfer is also available in a two-disc Blu-ray set, retailing for $38.99. To order, call Provident-Integrity at 800-333-9000.