Six weeks before it opens across the nation and in 24 countries, the Kendrick Brothers debuted their new movie, “Overcomer,” in a prayer-filled premiere.
“You helped us make this movie,” star and director Alex Kendrick told the more than 600 people inside the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.
The Christian movie was filmed almost exclusively in Columbus and Tuesday night’s opening featured most of the cast, as well crew and those in Columbus who helped make the movie.
The opening was a thank-you to Columbus, which is featured prominently in the film. Brookstone School, Flatrock Park, Cooper Creek Park, the Chattahoochee Riverwalk, Bibb City, and the river are all noticeable in the one-hour and 50-minute movie.
It also features a lot of Columbus-area talent. Pastor Chuck Hasty, attorney and philanthropist Cecil Cheves and several local basketball players and runners have roles in the movie.
The Columbus faith community held prayer services and fed the cast and crew during the six weeks of shooting in Columbus.
“We were received by this community with open arms,” Stephen Kendrick said. “More than 80 churches from all denominations welcomed us, helped us, and prayed for us.”
Alex Kendrick put it this way: “The body of Christ in Columbus helped us make this movie.”
WRBL News 3 Anchor Phil Scoggins said he was humbled to be chosen to emcee the event.
“It was one of the highlights of my career to be asked to do that,” Scoggins said. “I am humbled by the experience. Those guys are my heroes. It is not just because of the films they produce, but also because of the Christian examples they are. And they can take that and put it on the screen. I count their friendship as invaluable.”
The movie opens Aug. 23 in 1,500 theaters nationwide. That is more than the nearly 1,100 theaters that showed “War Room” in 2015. The Kendrick Brothers movies are big business. “War Room” grossed $74 million worldwide and cost just $3 million to produce.
“Overcomer” is a production of Affirm Films, a Sony Company. The cost of the movie has not been released, but last summer Producer Stephen Kendrick said it was more expensive to make than “War Room.”
The Kendrick Brothers, based in Albany, Ga., have had box-office success with their first five films. “Overcomer” is their sixth and most costly production.
The movie, with a strong faith-based theme, features Alex Kendrick as basketball coach John Harrison. When his high school basketball team’s state championship dreams are crushed by the largest employer in town shutting down, he gets thrust into an unexpected situation.
Harrison must come to grips with the challenges facing his family and his team. Urged by the school’s principal to fill-in and coach a sport he doesn’t know or like, John is frustrated and questioning his worth… until he crosses paths with a student struggling with her own journey.
In addition to Kendrick, the film stars Priscilla Shirer, Shari Rigby, Cameron Arnett, and introduces Aryn Wright-Thompson.
Wright-Thompson plays Hannah, who struggles with her identity and faith. Producer Stephen Kendrick says the movie is about identity.
“Right now, the church needs to be the experts on identity because God’s word is crystal clear,” Stephen Kendrick said. “He created us that we are not accidents here for no reason, to live with no purpose and to die and go nowhere.”