Entertainment

Oprah leads the way in this season's crop of holiday films as, yes, a camel

Oprah Winfrey voices Deborah, a camel, who carries a mouse companion (Kristin Chenoweth) in the animal-led nativity story 'The Star.'
Oprah Winfrey voices Deborah, a camel, who carries a mouse companion (Kristin Chenoweth) in the animal-led nativity story 'The Star.' Sony Pictures Animation

If you love movies but spit out your popcorn at gratuitous violence and blistering language, this might be your season to return to the theater.

Several faith-based films are in the mix of offerings this fall and into the holidays, including a Brian Henson-produced animated Christmas movie with an all-star voice cast. “The Star,” the story of the first Christmas, will be released Nov. 17, at about a dozen local theaters. 

It tells the story of the birth of Christ from the perspective of an adventuresome donkey named Bo and his friends: a sheep, a dove and some wisecracking camels. Kelly Clarkson, Kristin Chenoweth, Christopher Plummer, Kris Kristofferson, Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey will bring the characters to life. Through Nov. 30, patrons who buy a ticket through Fandango can get a free download of Mariah Carey’s song, “The Star.” 

The Price of Fame” opened at three local theaters last week. It tells the story of professional wrestling legend Ted DiBiase’s struggle as he found huge success as an entertainer in the 1980s but lost his way spiritually.

Let there Be Light,”  about an atheist who goes through a near-death experience in an auto accident, opened in October and is still showing at several theaters in the area.

"Same Kind of Different as Me,” with Renee Zellweger and Greg Kinnear, about the real-life international art dealer Ron Hall, also opened in October and has left Raleigh theaters but is still showing in Jacksonville, Greensboro and other North Carolina cities. 

Three more Christian movies are expected to open around Easter in 2018, including “God’s Not Dead 3.”

Several other Christian-themed films were released earlier this year, the most successful of which was “The Shack,” about a man who is beckoned to an abandoned shack in the Oregon wilderness at a moment when his faith is faltering. It played in theaters for 11 weeks starting in March and earned more than $57 million in worldwide ticket sales.

Other movies in the genre released this fall included “Mully" and "A Question of Faith." 

"Mully" is a documentary about Charles Mully, who was abandoned as a 6-year-old in Kenya only to grow into a wildly successful businessman who then invests his fortune into building homes for orphaned children.

"A Question of Faith" stars Kim Fields (of “Facts of Life” fame), Christian music star Jaci Velasquez, T.C. Stallings and Richard T. Jones in the story of how several families intertwine after a young woman is sent to juvenile detention for hitting a boy in a driving-while-texting accident.

Movies with religious themes have been around almost since film itself and have included major box-office hits. “The Passion of Christ,” released in 2004 and directed by Mel Gibson, grossed more than $611 million. Gibson also directed “Hacksaw Ridge,” which grossed $175 million when it was released last year.

Martha Quillin: 919-829-8989, @MarthaQuillin

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