Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alex Kendrick|
|Produced by||Alex Kendrick
|Written by||Alex Kendrick
|Music by||Mark Willard|
|Edited by||Alex Kendrick
|Distributed by||Samuel Goldwyn Films
|Running time||122 minutes|
Fireproof is a 2008 American Christian drama film released by Samuel Goldwyn Films and Affirm Films, directed by Alex Kendrick, who co-wrote and co-produced it with Stephen Kendrick. The film stars Kirk Cameron, Erin Bethea and Ken Bevel.
Reviews for the film were "generally unfavorable" from film critics. The film was successful at the box office, becoming a surprise hit, debuting at No. 4 and becoming the highest-grossing independent film of 2008, grossing over $33,000,000. It received awards from evangelical Christian organizations, including the Best Feature Film award at the 2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.
In 1983, as a young girl, Catherine (Bethea) always dreamed of marrying a man like her father. She asks, in a child's innocence, if she could marry her father. Her mother says no, because he is already her husband and their marriage will never be done; Catherine could have her happily ever after when she found someone who really loves her.
25 years later, Catherine is married to fire captain Caleb Holt (Cameron). He recruits his men with the dictum that you never leave your partner, especially in a fire. However, at home, he and his wife argue over everything. Catherine confronts him of being selfish with his time and money, and is particularly angered that he is saving up to buy an expensive boat. Caleb retorts that Catherine prioritizes preferences instead of needs and is ungrateful for all he does to help others. Many years earlier, Catherine's mother survived a stroke, but a side effect damaged her voice box, leaving her unable to speak and in desperate need for medical treatment and an electric wheelchair. They both feel the other is inconsiderate and disrespectful. Their frequent disputing finally comes to a head, and Catherine says she wants out, to which Caleb agrees and releases a massive rage on her.
They both complain to their respective friends, showing the depth of their miscommunication. Caleb’s father, John, encourages his son to hold off on divorce proceedings to try the Love Dare, a 40-day challenge for improving marriage by changing the way a spouse is treated. Caleb reluctantly agrees, but decides not to tell Catherine. At the hospital where she works, Catherine has been mutually flirting with Dr. Gavin Keller, to whom she is attracted because he is considerate to her. Meanwhile, Caleb’s friend and colleague Michael also tries to dissuade him from divorce. He glues the station salt and pepper shakers together as an example, pointing out that if Caleb tries to pull them apart, he will break one or even both of them. Michael also points out that Caleb will risk his life to save complete strangers, but is not willing to save his own marriage.
The Love Dare begins, and it gives accumulating concepts for every day. Caleb completes each task, albeit half-heartedly, viewing it more as a checklist than a real investment. Each meager effort goes unappreciated. The nurses at Catherine's hospital warn her not to trust Caleb, saying he is merely trying to “butter her up” for a better divorce settlement. Additionally, she dismisses his attempts because he chooses internet pornography over intimacy with her, making her feel humiliated and inadequate. With encouragement from both John and Michael, Caleb forges ahead anyway, though Catherine grows closer to Dr. Keller while Caleb struggles through each day. After he goes all out on Day 19 by planning a candlelight dinner, she says directly to his face that she doesn’t love him anymore, prompting him to almost quit. John convinces his son to accept God and Christ into his life, saying he needs Jesus in order to succeed in all things. John emphasizes forgiveness and giving love whether it is deserved or not. A short time later, Caleb sustains first degree burns, and while he is being treated at the hospital, Dr. Keller inadvertently discovers Catherine is married, but continues his affections anyway.
Invigorated by his faith, Caleb asks the Lord for strength in defeating his addictions and winning Catherine back. He destroys his computer, putting in its place extravagant roses and a note saying he loves his wife more. Despite the genuine gesture, Catherine replies with an envelope with a petition for divorce. Caleb is heartbroken. Catherine goes to look at the medical equipment and electric wheelchair (which costs $24,000) needed for her stroke-afflicted mother, and discovers that it has already been paid for in full. She assumes Dr. Keller footed the bill, which further drives them together. Caleb discovers this burgeoning relationship and confronts the doctor, firmly stating that he will not step aside and will continue to fight for her heart. Afterward, Dr. Keller pulls out a wedding ring, revealing he is actually married himself, and ends his pursuits.
One day, Catherine finds the Love Dare book. A few days later, Caleb is caring for a sick Catherine and confesses he already passed the forty days, saying he does not have to stop. He gives a heartfelt apology for how he has treated her over the past seven years and begs her forgiveness, promising to be a better husband. He says that he is willing to save his marriage in order to live up to the principle he teaches his own men: never leave your partner. While taking time to think about the divorce, Catherine finds out that Caleb used his entire life savings to pay for her mother’s equipment, while Dr. Keller only contributed a paltry sum. Moved to tears by the profound selflessness of this act, she reunites with her husband, culminating in a passionate kiss. Caleb also learns from his father, to his great shock, that it was his mother, not his father, who used the Love Dare many years before on his father. Caleb sincerely apologizes to his mother for his rough treatment of her. Caleb and Catherine then renew their wedding vows as a covenant with God, and the film ends with a shot of their wedding cake, topped by the salt and pepper shakers Michael glued together.
- Kirk Cameron as Capt. Caleb Holt of the Albany Fire Department's Station One
- Erin Bethea as Catherine Holt, Caleb's wife, who works as a public relations director for Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital
- Ken Bevel as Lt. Michael Simmons
- Jason McLeod as Eric Harmon, a rookie fireighter
- Perry Revell as Dr. Gavin Keller, a married doctor who admires Catherine
- Stephen Dervan as Wayne, a firefighter at Station One
- Harris Malcom as John Holt, Caleb's father
- Phyllis Malcom as Cheryl Holt, Caleb's mother
- Renata Williams as Latasha Brown, a nurse at Phoebe Putney
- Alex Kendrick as Pastor Strauss
- Chelsea Noble as Catherine Holt body double (uncredited), who appeared in the scene where Caleb and Catherine reconcile, as Cameron would not kiss any woman but his wife
Production and marketing
Fireproof was filmed during October–December 2007 in 16 locations, all of which were donated. Craig von Buseck of the Christian Broadcasting Network said that the film was, "beautifully shot in and around Albany, Georgia, home to Sherwood Baptist Church." The Albany Fire Department donated its fire station locations, trucks and even some of its crew for use during the filming. The producers were also given use of a train and a hospital wing. The film's cast and crew were made up of 1,200 volunteers, along with a professional film crew of eight who worked below rate. Instead of marketing with television spots and billboards, Fireproof's marketers invited Christian publications to the set and screened the film early for pastors and church groups. Meyer Gottlieb, president of Samuel Goldwyn Films said, "The marketing is more grass roots."
|Fireproof: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by Various|
|Released||July 14, 2009|
|Label||Provident Label Group|
The film soundtrack for Fireproof was released on July 14, 2009. It features songs by Christian groups and artists, such as Casting Crowns and Third Day, as well as highlights of the film's score, composed by Mark Willard.
- "Fireproof" – Main Title (2:11)
- "Brighter Days" – Leeland (3:44)
- "This is Who I Am" – Third Day (2:32)
- "On the Tracks" (6:08)
- "The Love Dare" (1:02)
- "Slow Fade" – Casting Crowns (4:40)
- "Not Good Enough" (1:00)
- "What You Don't Have" (2:37)
- "House Fire" (6:01)
- "While I'm Waiting" – John Waller (4:52)
- "Temptation" (2:52)
- "The Apology" (2:43)
- "Personal Sacrifice" (3:48)
- "You Belong to Me" – Grey Holiday (1:50)
- "She Did It To Me" (1:50)
- "Love Is Not a Fight (Movie Version)" – Warren Barfield (4:28)
- "Bonus Track: While I'm Waiting (Fireproof Remix)" – John Waller (4:49)
Fireproof has received generally mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave it rating of 40%, based on 20 reviews. Metacritic gave it a metascore of 28%, based on 6 reviews. Ed Gonzalez of LA Weekly said, "Fireproof stops becoming relatable to us all and only to the already, or easily, indoctrinated." Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter said, "While hardly sophisticated in its approach and certainly not polished in its technical elements, the film does get its heartfelt message across with undeniable sincerity. Its success at the box office, which will no doubt continue on home video, demonstrates that there's no shortage of filmgoers dissatisfied with cynical Hollywood product."
Josh Rosenblatt of The Austin Chronicle criticized the film's story, saying it "makes for fruitful soul-fishing but lousy drama." Joe Leydon of Variety gave the film a positive review, saying, "Cameron is genuinely compelling as Caleb, a work-obsessed firefighter on the verge of divorce from his neglected wife." Cheryl Dickow of the Catholic Exchange said, "I feel it is necessary to send a message to Catholics everywhere that this is a movie worth seeing."
Fireproof's advance sales accounted for 40% of all Fandango sales the week before the film opened. It was released on September 26, 2008 in 839 theaters and grossed $6,836,036 in its opening weekend, placing at No. 4. During its run, Fireproof had a domestic gross of $33,456,317, more than triple the lifetime earnings of its predecessor, Facing the Giants, and moving it into the top 6 grossing Christian films of all time. It was the highest grossing independent film of 2008.
Fireproof was released to DVD on January 27, 2009 and to Blu-ray on September 29, 2009. Included as special features are deleted scenes, bloopers, behind-the-scenes making-of featurettes, and a commentary by the Kendrick Brothers. On its first weekend of DVD release, it ranked third in retail sales and fifth in rentals with a rental index of 51.02. After the upcoming weeks, it made $28,507,308 in DVD sales.
2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival
17th Annual Movieguide Faith & Values Awards Gala
- $100,000 Epiphany Prize
The Dove Foundation's Crystal Seal Awards
- Best Drama
- "Fireproof movie info". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
- Leydon, Joe (September 26, 2008). "Fireproof". Variety.
- "Fireproof Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. 2008-08-06. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- "Fireproof Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- Keegan, Rebecca Winters (October 3, 2008). "Fireproof: When Filmmakers Believe in Miracles". Time. Retrieved May 27, 2009.
- Buss, Dale (January 21, 2009). "What Christians Watch". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 24, 2009.
- Dransfeldt, Jeffrey (September 26, 2008). "Devotion keeps actor Kirk Cameron centered". Ventura County Star. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
- Buseck, Craig von (July 18, 2008). "Kirk Cameron is Fireproof in New Movie". Christian Broadcasting Network. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
- Kendrick, Stephen (September 2, 2008). Stephen Kendrick Interview. Interview with C.J. Darlington. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
- "Fireproof: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack To Release July 14". CMSpin. June 1, 2009. Retrieved June 2, 2009.
- 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards nominees announced on The Tennessean (February 18, 2010)
- "Fireproof (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
- "Fireproof: Samuel Goldwyn Films". Metacritic. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
- Gonzalez, Ed (September 30, 2008). "Movie Reviews". LA Weekly. Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- "Inspirational drama scores a surprise hit". The Hollywood Reporter. September 30, 2008. Retrieved October 22, 2008.[dead link]
- Rosenblatt, Josh (October 3, 2008). "Film Listings: Fireproof". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
- Leydon, Joe (September 26, 2008). "Recently Reviewed: Fireproof". Variety. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
- Movie Review: Fireproof
- Bowles, Scott (September 27, 2008). "'Fireproof' Marries God, Filmmaking". ABC News. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
- "Movie Fireproof". The Numbers. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for September 26–28, 2008". Box Office Mojo. September 26–28, 2008. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
- "Weekend Box Office". Box Office Mojo. December 19–21, 2008. Retrieved December 23, 2008.
- "Christian Movies". Box Office Mojo. November 5, 2008. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
- "New on DVD". WNDU-TV. January 27, 2009. Retrieved January 27, 2009.
- "Fireproof Actor Talks about DVD Release". Christian Broadcasting Network. January 27, 2009. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
- Arnold, Thomas K. (February 4, 2009). "Lakeview Terrace tops DVD charts". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 6, 2009.[dead link]
- "DVD/Home Video Rentals". Home Media Retailing. Box Office Mojo. January 26 – February 1, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
- "US DVD Sales Chart for Fireproof". The Numbers. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
- Alanis, James (January 12, 2009). "Report from San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved January 13, 2009.
- "San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival Announces 2009 Jubilee Award Winners". San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. January 12, 2009. Retrieved January 13, 2009.
- Snyder, Tom (February 12, 2009). "FIREPROOF Wins $100,000 Epiphany Prize". Movieguide. Retrieved February 12, 2009.
- "Dove Foundation Announces Crystal Seal Award Winners". ChristianCinema.com. April 2, 2009. Retrieved April 3, 2009.
- Official website
- Fireproof at AllMovie
- Fireproof at the TCM Movie Database
- Fireproof at the Internet Movie Database
- Fireproof at Box Office Mojo
- Fireproof at Rotten Tomatoes
- Fireproof at Metacritic
- Fireproof on Facebook