Left Behind Books Getting A Bigger Budget Reboot
Does anyone remember the Left Behind books? Were these the kind of cultural phenomenon you only became aware of if you were growing up in a conservative, Christian, Southern town like I was? The series of books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins looked, on the surface, like post-apocalyptic thrillers that might be fun beach reading; in fact, they were explicitly Christian and appealed to faith-based audiences so much that 65 million copies of all the books in the series have been sold.
In 2001 the Left Behind franchise made its way to the movies, with Kirk Cameron starring in three films that were primarily viewed on VHS and DVD (the first got a theatrical release that netted almost no money). The movies were made on the cheap and were seen almost exclusively by Christian audiences, but of course, that really didn't matter-- they were made for their target audience, and their target audience loved it. But with the subsequent success of equally cheap, equally Christian-focused movies like Fireproof (also starring Cameron) and this year's Courageous, that target audiences is clearly still hungry for more. And the Left Behind series is going to come back and bring it to them.
According to THR, producers Cloud Ten Pictures are planning a reboot of the series, starting with a script from Paul Lalonde, who wrote and produced the original films, and John Patus, who worked on 2005's Left Behind: World at War. They'll be showing the script at the American Film Market later this week in Santa Monica, and are also in the process of looking for a director. No word on whether Kirk Cameron will return and get involved, but much as he's still an ardent Christian, I imagine the new series will want to distance itself a bit from the originals and keep Cameron out of the picture.
Meanwhile, Courageous has made $28 million off a $2 million budget, as cited by THR. The incentive for returning to Left Behind is pretty clear.
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