Entertaining People on a Spiritual Level…

Orginally published on Thursday, July 13, 2006 at 10:09 AM
by Todd Rhoades

George Barna is hitting the ground running. Yesterday we reported about Barna's new position at Good News Holdings; today he announced a partnership with Tyndale House to produce books for an upcoming horror film/book series. Here's the press release...

Los Angeles, CA—July 11, 2006—Los Angeles-based multimedia company Good News Holdings and Wheaton, Illinois-based Tyndale House Publishers have announced their intent to work together on THE ATTICUS PROJECT, a partnership designed to leverage the power of print media with the magic of film.  The project was announced today by George Barna, Chairman of Good News Holdings and Doug Knox, Senior Vice President at Tyndale House Publishers.

One of their first projects together will be a horror series designed for release both in film and book-form called DUDLEYTOWN, based on a true story concerning the legendary evil that has held Dudleytown, Connecticut in its grip for hundreds of years.  Dudleytown has been pronounced by some, including film star Dan Aykroyd, to be “the scariest place on earth.” This venture is expected to yield seven projects targeting a teen audience.

“Our objective is to be the forerunner in a new genre of multimedia we are calling spiritainment,” says Good News Chairman George Barna.  “Our research has shown that people—especially young people—absorb an amazing degree of their values, beliefs and lifestyle practices from the media content to which they are exposed.  Our desire is to raise spiritual questions and draw people closer to God and His truths.”

“THE ATTICUS PROJECT is the first attempt to deliberately produce stories in one medium for the purpose of transferring the story into another,” says David Kirkpatrick, former Paramount Picture President and co-founder of Good News.  “Over the last three years, 85% of the movie box office was generated from films that happened to be previously franchised in another medium.  THE ATTICUS PROJECT will now do that intentionally.”

Tyndale will contribute as the publishing partner in THE ATTICUS PROJECT.  “It has always been our desire to use our significant influence to shape what people read and see,” says Tyndale Senior Vice-President Doug Knox.  “Creating stories that will move from the page to the screen will contribute mightily to Tyndale’s mission to entertain people on a spiritual level—it is what Spiritainment is all about.”


I respect Barna and what he’s trying to do… but I’m pretty unclear at this point at how successful it will be.  Is the aim to put some product on the market with strong family and spiritual value?  If so, I think that’s admirable.  I’m really torn about how much effect that has overall though.  I think it’s good to raise spiritual questions to draw people closer to God and his truths; but I think it’s easier said than done.  It will be interesting to watch this horror film/book project to see how it comes out and what effect it actually has.  I pray that it does have a great outcome.


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 TRACKBACKS: (0) There are 7 Comments:

  • Posted by chris

    It’s definitely an interesting place to start. If I was a Christian media company, I think the last place I would start is in the horror genre. It’s a hard genre to do and do well, and it’s a very difficult genre to do well in keeping with Christian values. If I was the CEO of Spiritainment, I would start a little smaller and work up to my horror flick. But that’s just me - I guess that’s why I ‘m not the CEO of Spiritainment.

  • Posted by

    I definitely echo Chris in that it is a interesting place to start. Who knows?

    Makes me wonder though? How many who read MMI (whether they “comment” or not) will go to see a horror flick just because they know Barna and this group are behind it?

    Kind of like Michael W. Smith’s movie. Know tons of people who wanted to go see it just because he was in it. Anyone “here” actually see it???? Are you glad you did or wished you hadn’t?

    I think it will be a tough road ahead. Not saying with God’s help it can’t be done of course.

    Funny enough? I always thought Barna was older. Go figure. But that doesn’t classify as “spiritainment.”

  • Posted by

    Ted Dekker is a Christian author who has very successfuly combined the “Christian” and “Horror” genres, much in the same way that Peretti has.  As a matter of fact, he has a couple of book-based movies in the works right now, so I really don’t doubt that this is a really workable idea.  I like the idea of Barna attempting to beat Hollywood at its own game.  Why not?

  • Posted by Jeff

    Exploring spiritual issues in movies is wonderful, but I’m skeptical on the quality of Barna’s ‘spiritainment.’ When I hear a specifically Christian studio talk about drawing people closer to God through film, the first thing I think of is the Left Behind movie, which was a 90-minute video tract with some explosions.  Is that what we can expect from Barna’s group?  If so, I don’t see how anyone outside of those already on board with the ‘spiritainment’ concept will take it seriously.

    There are plenty of non-Christian specific movies that raise good spiritual questions without bogging itself down in Four Spiritual Laws-type stuff at the expense of the story quality.

  • Posted by djchuang

    I recall reading statistics that a slight majority of moviegoers are Christians, so a movie producer that merely focused on making quality movies for that very audience should be very well profitable.

  • Posted by Jeff

    That assumes that a majority Christian audience will want an intentionally Christian film. And judging by Left Behind’s box office (just over $4 mil...and panned by critics mostly for quality of story and effects), that’s assuming a lot. 

    Ultimately, though, my concern has more to do with quality than appeal.  If the former is there, the latter stands a chance regardless of how the audience self-identifies.

  • Posted by

    I would suggest that those who aren’t sure about the mix should rent “The Visitation”, produced by Ralph Winter.  Ralph Winter is a Christian producer and found that this genre was very interesting.  Check out his interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network when he was on the 700 Club about a month ago (July ‘06).

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