A filmmaker who has been involved in some of the most popular faith-based movies says Hollywood is pouring more resources into Christian films because of their success at the box office.
Filmmaker Karl Horstmann produced 2017’s The Case for Christ – the story of Lee Strobel – and has helped make several recent films, including two released this year: On a Wing and a Prayer, which stars Dennis Quaid and is on Prime, and Southern Gospel, which stars Max Ehrich and debuted in theaters before transitioning to UPtv. He was a producer on both.
Horstmann believes the quality of faith films has improved, in part because of resources.
“Hollywood looks at faith films now as a legitimate genre. … Even 10 years ago, they were not seen that way. I think they were most often seen as niche specialty films,” Horstmann told Christian Headlines. “And I think [the reason] the faith market has done so well is because the audiences have turned out to support these films in such big ways, in big numbers, like with I Can Only Imagine.”
I Can Only Imagine grossed $83 million at the box office. He also pointed to the success of Jesus Revolution, which grossed $52 million.
“Those audiences have turned out,” he said. “And Hollywood has taken note of that and said, ‘Hey, this is a legitimate genre, and we should treat it as such.’ So I think we’re seeing more and more resources poured into faith projects because of that. And I think that alone will elevate the quality of that entertainment and of those films.”
Horstmann founded Triple Horse Studios, a production company. He joked that he tells his team he wants “more Jesus, less cheese-us” Movies are one of the “last few places” in society where people “let their defenses down” and enjoy the product, he said.
“So I think as faith filmmakers, we have a message that we’re trying to just make people aware of – that God loves them. Without any judgment, God loves them,” he told Christian Headlines. “And we want to tell those stories to people so they realize that.”
Photo courtesy: ©Karl Horstmann, used with permission.
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.