Faith-based football drama Woodlawn not only outperformed industry predictions in its opening weekend box office by taking in an estimated $4 million, it also entered rarified air by earning an accolade from audiences bestowed on only a handful of films each year.
The moving and inspirational movie, based on the true story of how love and unity overcame hate and division in early 1970s Birmingham, AL, received an A+ rating from Cinemascore, the film industry's pre-eminent gauge of audience opinion for more than 35 years.
Only a few films annually receive the coveted rating, with faith films being well represented among the honorees in recent years.
"Clearly Woodlawn got this extraordinary rating because it's an A+ film," commented Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, who were executive producers of the film under their Lightworkers Media banner. "Woodlawn takes the audience on a sweeping journey, which is both exciting and emotional. The Erwin Brothers made an incredible film, and people are loving it. We are very encouraged."
An Erwin Brothers film produced by Kevin Downes and distributed by Pure Flix in conjunction with Provident Films, Woodlawn tells the true-life story of Tony Nathan (newcomer Caleb Castille), who lands in a powder keg of anger and violence when he joins fellow African-American students at Woodlawn High School in Birmingham after its government-mandated desegregation in 1973. The Woodlawn Colonels football team is a microcosm of the problems at the school and in the city, which erupts in cross burnings and riots, and Coach Tandy Geralds (Nic Bishop) is at a loss to solve these unprecedented challenges with his disciplinarian ways.
It’s only when Hank (Sean Astin), an outsider who has been radically affected by the message of hope and love he experienced at a Christian revival meeting, convinces Coach Geralds to let him speak to the team that something truly remarkable begins to happen. More than 40 players, nearly the entire team, black and white, give their lives over to the “better way” Hank tells them is possible through following Jesus, and the change is so profound in them it affects their coach, their school, and their community in ways no one could have imagined.
"Woodlawn is one the most powerful faith-based films I have ever seen,” commented Greg Laurie, Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California. “This is more than a film about a historic football game; Woodlawn is the story of God’s power breaking down the walls of racial prejudice.”
"This movie will be transforming for everyone who sees it," added Ronnie Floyd, President of the Southern Baptist Convention and Senior Pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas.
Woodlawn stars Sean Astin (Rudy, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mom’s Night Out), Nic Bishop (Covert Affairs, Body Of Proof), Caleb Castille (in his feature film debut), C. Thomas Howell (The Outsiders, Red Dawn), Sherri Shepherd (The View, Precious), and Academy Award winner Jon Voight (Coming Home, Ali, National Treasure). It is directed by the Erwin Brothers (October Baby, Mom’s Night Out) from a script by Jon Erwin and Quinton Peeples, and is produced by Kevin Downes (Faith of Our Fathers, Courageous).
To learn more about the movie, visit www.woodlawnmovie.com.
By NRB Staff
Published: October 29, 2015