Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The First Phone Call from Heaven: God is in the movie house


One ringy dingy. Two ringy dingy. "Get me heaven on the line." Mitch Albom of Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven fame has just had his latest bestseller The First Phone Call From Heaven, optioned by Warner Bros. While Albom's books sell really, really well, this is the first time one of them will be made into a feature film. Definitely not one to judge by its cover, because the cover, in my opinion, is dreadful. But, if you know Albom's books, you already know that all the covers are basically bland, and that doesn't stop them from selling. Here's what the latest book, released last November, looks like inside.
From Amazon: The First Phone Call from Heaven tells the story of a small town on Lake Michigan that gets worldwide attention when its citizens start receiving phone calls from the afterlife. Is it the greatest miracle ever or a massive hoax? Sully Harding, a grief-stricken single father, is determined to find out. An allegory about the power of belief—and a page-turner that will touch your soul—Albom's masterful storytelling has never been so moving and unexpected.

Apparently while Paramount is dealing with a hail storm of ill will toward Darren Aronovsky's unconventional take on the ark story and struggling to get religious groups to give Noah a gander when it opens this Friday, some spiritual fare is showing real box office promise. Heaven is for Real, which I wrote about in connection with the death of our dog, is 'tracking' really well, audiences are just dying to see the movie based on the true story of a little boy who survives a near death experience. Capitalizing on the Easter spirit, Heaven is for Real opens April 16th with Greg Kinnear starring.  


The Shack, in a similar spiritual vein is also heading to the screen. The Wm. Paul Young novel is about a man devastated by the brutal murder of his daughter in an abandoned shack who receives an invitation from God to return to the scene of the crime for a life changing conversation. The real excitement here is that Forrest Whittaker is attached, rumored to be co-writing the screenplay, directing and starring. 

Deadline notes that based on the high sales figures of all these books, studios sense audiences want to believe in a higher power. Ya think?

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