NEW YORK — The newfound spirituality that Hollywood discovered in the wake of the astonishing success of The Passion of The Christ is about to have its baptism.
Two high-profile releases with Christian themes that were given the green light for production immediately after Mel Gibson’s film pulled in $84-million (U.S.) at the box office on its opening weekend will open in the next few months, including this week’s The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which is being hailed by some in the Christian community for its unskeptical treatment of devil possession.
The film adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which will open just in time for the Christmas season on Dec. 9, is based on the C. S. Lewis book that is greatly admired by Christians for its depiction of a messianic lion.
Walt Disney Co., which is releasing Narnia, has been cultivating Christian audiences through exclusive sneak previews of trailers and other material from the film. The Mission America Coalition, an organization that promotes proselytizing, is arranging sneak-preview events this fall in hopes that the film could provide opportunities for evangelism. On its website, the Coalition says the, "Chronicles of Narnia fantasy adventure series is just the right thing to penetrate today’s culture in ways that more overt Christian films may not be able to do. We believe the release of this film is truly a unique opportunity that God has created. By clearly conveying the message of Christ and the Cross, it can serve as a powerful evangelistic tool."