America’s newest box office hit is a family drama with a Christian message and a mostly African-American cast. “War Room” was filmed in the North Carolina area, with scenes shot in uptown Charlotte, in Huntersville’s Birkdale Village, and in homes and churches in Concord and Kannapolis.
Stephen Kendrick, the faith-based film’s producer and co-writer with his brother Alex, its director had this to say about the city “We think God is working in Charlotte. There’s a kindness that’s in the city. And there’s a unity among the churches: We had 85 churches rise up and support us in the making of the film.”
Last weekend, this latest low-budget movie from the Georgia-based Kendrick Brothers debuted in 1,100-plus theaters and earned more than $11 million in ticket sales when it only cost $3.5 million to make. Those numbers made the film runner-up to box-office champ “Straight Outta Compton,” even though Entertainment Weekly reports “War Room” more than doubled the rap-music biopic’s per-screen average.
The combat in “War Room” is ultimately between God and Satan and is waged in the souls of a suburban couple with a troubled marriage as well as a daughter who’s deprived of attention from her parents. The character of Elizabeth, the emotionally and spiritually embattled wife played by acting newcomer Priscilla Shirer, eventually decides to stand up against sin by turning one of her closets into a prayer room, or “war room.”
Producer Kendrick said he and his brother are feeding a hunger among evangelical Christians for films that promote faith and morality. Film critics have been unimpressed by the Kendricks’ films, including “War Room,” which received positive reviews from only 29 percent of those critics featured on the Rotten Tomatoes website.
The Los Angeles Times dismissed the film as more Bible study than feature film and according to Boston Globe wrote that “War Room” is “so heavy on broad pulpit pounding that it’s challenging to get swept away by the story’s message.” However Rotten Tomatoes also reported that 91 percent of the film’s audience said they liked it.
Kendrick said most film critics “don’t get the faith audience” and are so used to eating the cotton candy and junk food coming out of Hollywood that it’s a shock to their system when they’re given a plate of nutritious vegetables.
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