Lionsgate, best known for their gruesome horror films, has decided to start rocking it JC-style, and are dipping into the Christian entertainment market. The studio will be distributing three direct-to-DVD documentaries based on best-selling non-fiction books: The Case for Christ, The Case for a Creator, and The Case for Faith. The books, written by Lee Strobel, have sold a combined 8 million-plus copies and won several awards. The first of these documentaries, The Case for Christ, will be released later this year and Lionsgate has arranged for the "Christian publishing giant" Thomas Nelson, the world's # 6 overall publishing house, to distribute its materials. The studio hopes pairing with Nelson will also help with the releases of upcoming "faith films" like Church Boy -- the story of gospel singer Kirk Franklin, and a feature film adaptation of a painting called The Christmas Cottage. I've officially heard it all with that one. A feature film adaptation of a painting? What's next, Mona Lisa's Revenge?
Major studios have been moving more and more into "faith-based" material lately. For example, Sony Pictures has been successful with their Kirk Cameron-starring adaptations of the Left Behind series, but the trend really kicked into overdrive after the huge success of The Passion of the Christ, and divisions started sprouting up everywhere. Christopher told you about Fox Faith last year, and Jessica recently told you about one of their upcoming projects. In December, The Weinstein Company announced their desire to get into the religious market as well, a story Erik brought you here. Lionsgate president Steve Beeks says his company already has "established a stronghold" in the African-American faith-based market through its partnership with Tyler Perry, and that "Lionsgate is making a concerted effort to expand its leadership in the faith-based category."