|Ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church|
Sherwood Pictures is an American independent Christian film production company in Albany, Georgia, United States. It is unusual among production companies in that it is a ministry of a local church, Sherwood Baptist Church. The company uses mostly volunteers in their productions. It was founded in 2002 by Alex Kendrick, the associate pastor of media for Sherwood Baptist Church with $20,000 in donations.
Sherwood Pictures was founded in 2002 by Alex Kendrick, the associate pastor of media for Sherwood Baptist Church with $20,000 in donations. Kendrick has also written and directed each of Sherwood's films. The budget of each film has been significantly larger than the film directly previous, at $20,000 for Flywheel, $100,000 for Facing the Giants, $500,000 for Fireproof, and $2 million for Courageous.
Sherwood's films have earned back their budgets dozens of times over. Facing the Giants made 102 times its budget, Fireproof earned 67 times its budget, and Courageous made eight times its budget in its first ten days in theaters.
In 2011, The Hollywood Reporter wrote about Sherwood's increasing success:
The movies have progressed from amateurish to critical successes. 'The characters are complex and well drawn, struggling with various personal issues that test their faith and character in believable ways,' The Hollywood Reporter film reviewer Frank Scheck wrote of Courageous.
Filming for Flywheel began in November 2002 and continued through 2003. The film was shot digitally to avoid film processing expenses. The filmmakers set a budget of $20,000 for production costs, and used church members as the cast and production crew. It was released in 3 theaters on April 9, 2003, ultimately grossing over $37,000, and a director's cut DVD was released on November 13, 2007. The DVD has sold over 600,000 units. It won awards at several film festivals.
Jay Austin (Alex Kendrick) is a car salesman who consistently cheats his customers. Austin teaches his employee, Bernie Meyers (Tracy Goode), to do likewise, while in the meantime his relationship with his wife and son deteriorates. Austin eventually realizes that what he is doing is wrong and decides to change his business practices and become a Christian. However, he is now thousands of dollars in debt and the bank is about to confiscate the business. Austin decides to put his trust in God for the situation. After God provides customers to pull Austin out of the debt in the very last minute, Austin is challenged with the hard decision to honor God by apologizing and returning money to the customers he cheated.
Facing the Giants (2006)
Facing the Giants was shot on high definition digital video tape and transferred to film. Using real high school football teams, the football action sequences were shot by the film's director of photography, Bob Scott, who is a veteran cinematographer for NFL Films. Another NFL Films technician, Rob Whitehurst, recorded the movie's sound. The film was shot for $100,000 and released to 441 theaters in 2006. It grossed over $10,000,000 at the box office and was released to DVD in early 2007 and made its television debut on September 21, 2008, on Trinity Broadcasting Network. The DVD has sold 2.5 million units.
Facing the Giants is the story of Grant Taylor, a high school football coach with a mediocre record. He is in danger of being fired, his car is breaking down, and he discovers that he is the reason that his wife Brooke cannot have children. In order to find a solution to these problems, he prays to God for help. Taylor begins a new coaching philosophy and decides to praise God after each game, no matter the result.
Fireproof stars Kirk Cameron, Erin Bethea and Ken Bevel. It was released on DVD on January 27, 2009 on a budget of $500,000. The film received success at the box office, becoming a surprise hit, debuting at #4 and becoming the highest-grossing independent film of 2008 (with 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.
Fireproof is the story of firefighter Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron) who lives by the old firefighter's adage: Never leave your partner behind. However, his relationship with his wife Catherine (Erin Bethea) is failing. As they prepare to file for divorce, Caleb's father challenges his son to commit to The Love Dare. Caleb starts it, and soon discovers the book’s daily challenges are tied into his parents' newfound faith. When his father tells him that this is the love God shows to people, Caleb makes a life-changing commitment to love God. And, with God's help, Caleb begins to understand what it means to truly love his wife.
Sherwood Pictures' fourth film is titled Courageous, and was released on September 30, 2011. The title and plot of Courageous were announced on November 15, 2009. Sherwood Pictures stated that "After much prayer, creative brainstorming, more prayer, wise counsel, and still more prayer, Sherwood Pictures is ready to move ahead with their fourth motion picture."
The Kendrick brothers completed the script at the end of 2009. Ken Bevel, who starred in Fireproof, stars in Courageous. Alex Kendrick also stars in Courageous. Casting was completed in early 2010, and filming took place from April 26 – June 25, 2010. Co-producer and co-writer Stephen Kendrick stated that "The film's desire is for men to leave the theater making the decision that Joshua made when he declared, 'As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord".
Courageous was made on a budget of just $2 million. Courageous opened at #4 in the box office, beating out all other Hollywood movies also debuting that weekend. Courageous grossed $34.5 million in theaters.
|Flywheel||Facing the Giants||Fireproof||Courageous|
|Alex Kendrick||Jay Austin||Grant Taylor||Pastor Strauss||Adam Mitchell|
|Kirk Cameron||Caleb Holt|
|Shannen Fields||Miss Gardner||Brooke Taylor|
|Erin Bethea||Alicia Houston||Catherine Holt|
|Ken Bevel||Michael Simmons||Nathan Hayes|
|Tracy Goode||Bernie Myers||Brady Owens||Benny Murphy|
|Jim McBride||Butch Bowers||Bobby Lee Duke||Carl Hatcher||Church Member|
|Jason McLeod||Brock Kelley||Eric Harmon|
|Kevin Downes||Shane Fuller|
|Janet Lee Dapper||Judy Austin||School Teacher||Nurse|
|Bailey Cave||David Childers||Ross|
|Walter Burnett||Max Kendall||Stan Schulz||Dr. Anderson|
|Carla Hawkins||Ms. Wright||Tina Simmons|
|Renee Jewell||Winners Friend||Jackie||Victoria Mitchell|
- Fisher, Luchina (October 3, 2008). "'Fireproof' Shows Christian Movies Sell". ABC News. Retrieved December 15, 2009.
- Newcomb, Tim (August 25, 2011). "Faith-Based Filmmaking: The Sherwood Pictures Crusade". Time. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
- Box Office Shocker: How Moviemaking Georgia Church Behind 'Courageous' Outperforms Hollywood
- Buss, Dale (January 21, 2009). "What Christians Watch". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 24, 2009.
- "'Fireproof' makers to follow up with film on fatherhood". Christian Today. November 16, 2009. Retrieved November 16, 2009.
- Kimball, Josh (November 3, 2009). "'Fireproof' creators to reveal plans for fourth film". The Christian Post. Christian Today. Retrieved November 14, 2009.
- Davis, Rebecca Grace (November 19, 2009). "Sherwood Pictures announces fourth film". OneNewsNow. Retrieved November 20, 2009.
- ""Fireproof" Filmmakers Announce Next Project". KWTX-TV. November 16, 2009. Retrieved November 16, 2009.
- Barnello, Jana (November 15, 2009). "Sherwood unveils new movie theme". WFXL. Retrieved November 16, 2009.
- "‘Courageous’ to focus on fatherhood". The Oklahoman. November 21, 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2009.
- Foust, Michael (November 15, 2009). "Sherwood's next film to spotlight fatherhood". Baptist Press. Retrieved November 16, 2009.
- Weekend actuals, 10/3/2011, Boxoffice.com
- Courageous - Box Office Mojo