I have mentioned this movie before, but I think it is time to do some updating of information. This past week, beginning on April 6th, a movie by the name of Beyond the Mask was released. It was an odd release, you could not simply go to your movie theater and buy tickets, they were reservations only. Unfortunately I was unable to see one of these screenings and was unaware of it’s odd release until the day of its release. I must have not looked to much into it because there were no screenings around me anyway. I apologize to any of my readers who wanted to see this film or even went to see this film and found out the hard way that this was not normal.
Let me first break down for you that the way this is being released is not any indication of how good the movie is. Many indie films get creative with their releases. It has lead to the success of films that would have originally been crushed if they went straight to a wide release. In fact, the way they are releasing it makes me feel that they are confident in the film. They are currently in the middle of a limited release with the hopes of going larger later. The reason they might do this is because they feel that the film would get good word of mouth and make people excited to take their friends later.
I do not know when or if a wider release will happen so if you can get into one of these showings I would say GO FOR IT! As far as how things are going for word of mouth… well… I have heard only great reviews! What is being said is that it is fun, interesting, well acted, well directed and has a Christian message in it that doesn’t hit you over the head but works into the film. These are all great. In fact, one review really took me off guard. This reviewer gave the film an 8.6 out of 10 stars! No, this review wasn’t from Christianity Today, it wasn’t from Pluggedin or Focus on the Family, it wasn’t from the Christian Post or from any well known mega church pastors… it was from a reviewer at Moviepilot.com! You can check out the full review HERE.
The film looks well done to me and I know the writer is a competent writer. Some people are saying that this movie is going to mark a new direction for Christian films! Which I believe Christian films could use a new direction.
So far, this film has only been released in a few theaters, its widest release being reported as 181 theaters, many of those only one showing. However, on Monday April 6th it was number 8 in the nation for per-screen average gross and April 7th it was number 3! Those are good numbers! So far, it has made $343,255 according to Boxofficemojo.com. How much did it cost to make? I am not sure because I cannot confirm a number anywhere but I did find one site claiming that the budget was $4 million dollars. If this is in fact the case, not only do I feel they made every penny count while producing this film which is the opposite of how I feel with other Christian films but with a wider release I feel they could easily profit from this film if handled right and word of mouth continues to be high!
I do hope to see this film as soon as I can but I have not been this excited about an independently done Christian film in a very long time!
Today’s post was originally suppose to be a review of the movie Pendragon: Sword of His Father. It was a Christian Fantasy Adventure movie that came out in 2008. If you read some Christian reviews on-line about this movie you will read such things as “Lord of the Rings quality” and other such non-sense! I promise you, I never for one minute believed those reviews but I did want to see how they did. Instead of trying to look at it and measure it up against The Lord of the Rings, a standard it had no hope of living up too. I wanted to see how they did with the budget they actually had. From what I could find Pendragon had the budget of $50,000 dollars. Already you can tell not to expect Lord of the Rings level quality which had a budget north of $100,000,000. There is a pretty large gap between those two numbers. It was also made by Burns Family Studios. Basically Burns Family Studios is a home school Christian family that decided that there was not enough Christian movies that where of the genre they liked, Adventure. I can sympathize, this would be my favorite genre and the genre I would strive for if I had the recourses to make a movie. Almost all of the technical stuff was done by family members, and most of the acting. Basically what Pendragon is, is what if you and your family made a movie. When put into those terms, I can say Pendragon was impressive and much better then most families could put together.
Unfortunately I am not really reviewing Pendragon here, because I did not make it all the way through. The quality was just too poor. The acting too armature and the story too slow but the whole reason I was about to review a movie from 2008 was because I wanted to talk about their next film. Yes, their first film was horrible but many directors and production companies have first movies that are not at the quality they are at now and I can say that within the mess that is Pendragon I saw potential and I saw passion.
(Isn’t the Movie poster stunning!)
BEYOND THE MASK
For me I can look past a poor first movie if they then take that experience and cash that was gathered from the first movie and improve on it. What would I recommend? Well, get a professional writer to write the script, hire professional actors, get professionals to help with the technical stuff and give us a product that actually lives up to what you originally sought to make with Pendragon.
Well, their next film comes out this year. To my surprise it is being released to theaters! They have hired Paul McCusker who has written several novels and many Adventures in Odyssey episodes. This guy has been at it a long time! They went and hired Andrew Cheney as their star (Who hasn’t done much but he is an actor), They hired Adetokumboh M’Cormack who can be seen in Captain America: Winter Soldier, Blood Diamond, Lost, and Heroes. For their female lead they hired Kara Killmer who you can see as a current regular on Chicago Fire. And last but certainly not least, they hired John Rhys-Davies! He is a true legend in the industry! He has appeared in such movies as Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Last Crusade, and all three Lord of the Rings movies! So really, if Adventure/Fantasy is the genre they are going for, John is a natural go to guy! They have also hired several technical professionals. All the check points are being hit for me to think that their second film could in fact be a huge leap forward in quality! Not to mention that a Christian Movie about a Masked Hero seems right up my alley. I can tell you, if the improvement is as large as it looks like it is from the trailer (seen below) of Beyond the Mask then The Burns Family Studio is a studio to really watch out for!