In this month's roundup of faith & family entertainment news, we look at the big winners at the recent Movieguide Awards, the just-released trailer for The Pope's Exorcist, starring Russell Crowe, and the possibility of new movies based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
The Chosen Has an Epiphany (Prize) at the Movieguide Awards
The 30th annual Movieguide Awards, which honor "the best of family-friendly movies and television programs and spiritually uplifting entertainment," took place on Friday, Feb. 19, at the Avalon Hollywood In Los Angeles.
The ceremony then aired on UPtv on Sunday, Feb. 26.
Among the winners:
Best Family Movies: A tie between Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Best Mature Audience Movie: Resistance: 1942
Best Family Television (and the Grace Award Television): A Christmas ... Present
Best Mature Audience Television: The Lord of the RIngs: The Rings of Power, Episode 1.8, "Alloyed"
Epiphany Prize Movies: The Chosen Season 3, Episodes 1 and 2 (released to theaters as a Fathom Event)
Epiphany Prize Television: Dolly Parton's Magic Christmas
Click here for the full list of winners for the event, which featured host Terry Crews and musical guests Chrissy Metz, and Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.
Chills and Scares Dominate the Trailer for The Pope's Exorcist
Eastertime each year means the release of religious-themed films and documentaries, some good, many not-so-good.
The trailer for Sony Pictures' The Pope's Exorcist (click here to watch it), promises a lot of the same demonic chills as in William Friedkin's excellent 1973 film of Catholic author (and screenwriter) William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist.
But, it also looks to borrow as heavily from pulp author Dan Brown's Vatican thrillers as it does from the reality of exorcism.
Here's how Sony describes the film:
Inspired by the actual files of Father Gabriele Amorth, Chief Exorcist of the Vatican (Academy Award®-winner Russell Crowe), The Pope’s Exorcist follows Amorth as he investigates a young boy’s terrifying possession and ends up uncovering a centuries-old conspiracy the Vatican has desperately tried to keep hidden.
A clean-shaven, rather elfin-looking man, Father Amorth -- who was, properly, an exorcist for the Diocese of Rome, not specifically just the pope -- died at the age of 91 in 2016. It's hard to imagine an actor looking less like him than the burly, bearded Russell Crowe, but that's who's starring in The Pope's Exorcist, hitting theaters on April 14.
But, every now and then, mainstream films about the supernatural battle between good and evil can reveal truths of the Faith. Also, they can bring those truths to folks who might not normally be exposed to them.
That's our hope for The Pope's Exorcist.
Warner Bros. to Do New The Lord of the Rings Movies
From The Hollywood Reporter:
As Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav declared in the company’s earnings call, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema made a multiyear deal with Embracer Group to make new Lord of the Rings movies.
The reveal comes at a precarious time for Warners, with the studio admitting a $2.1 billion loss in Q4. Like many studios, the company seems to be circling its wagons ever tighter around familiar IP, focusing on surefire brands like DC.
Though there are no scripts yet, one insider suggests to The Hollywood Reporter that Warner Bros. hopes to turn LOTR into a Star Wars-like franchise.
Of course, Amazon Studios already has The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, a big-budget series set centuries before the time of Catholic author J,R.R. Tolkien's original The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
So, is there room also for new big-screen adventures? (Especially since Warner Bros., already did three films based on the original trilogy, and then teased three more films out of Tolkien's LOTR precursor, The Hobbit.)
Says the Hollywood Reporter story:
Once again, folks are emphasizing what’s different: Warners’ rights cover Tolkien’s Third Age — which includes fan-favorite characters Gandalf, Aragorn and the hobbits and covers the war over the One Ring — while Amazon is exploring Tolkien’s lesser-known Second Age.
Since many of the elves featured in the Third Age stories are also in the Second Age stories, we could wind up with three film iterations of Galadriel, Elrond, etc., unless WB can lure some of the actors from the big-screen versions back to their roles.
But, since elves, unlike humans, age at a glacial pace, that could get tricky,
Image: Father Esquibel (Daniel Zovatto) and Father Gabriele Amorth (Russell Crowe) in Screen Gems’ THE POPE’S EXORCIST. Photo: Jonathan Hession. © 2023 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Content Manager at Family Theater Productions.
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