This year, though, saw the super-wide launch of The Nativity Story, but the birth of Christ proved far less popular than the death of Christ.I do think that this one will do a bit better as Christmas draws nearer. In many ways, it feels too early to watch a film about the Nativity just yet. My suspicion is that the marketing strategy is to get a few people to see this film early and hope that they will spread the word to others so as to get bigger audiences as Christmas draws nearer.
The Nativity Story bore an estimated $8 million at 3,183 theaters, crumbs compared to The Passion of Christ's $83.8 million not that it was ever expected to replicate that unique phenomenon. New Line Cinema's $35 million re-telling of the Biblical yarn, positioned for the Christmas holiday like The Passion was for Lent and Easter, was Hollywood's first explicitly Christian movie to come in the wake of The Passion, but performed more in line with the independent Christian pictures, like One Night with the King. Against a raft of Nativity displays and festive secular Christmas fare, The Nativity Story lacked the oomph to be a theatrical must.
Anyway here are a pick of reviews from a mix of film dedicated publications, major news outlets, and a few other interesting commentators. Readers will be pleased to know I'm not going to comment on each one individually...
Entertainment WeeklyThere are a few other pieces I'd like to mention. Over at NT Gateway, Mark Goodacre posts his initial thoughts, as does Mark Roberts.
Shadows on the Wall
Los Angeles Times [Kenneth Turan]
New York Times
San Francisco Chronicle [Mick LaSalle]
The New York Times
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Decent Films - faith on film [Steven D. Greydanus]
Eric D. Snider
Christianity Today [Peter T. Chattaway]
Christianity Today [David Neff]
Looking Closer [Jeffrey Overstreet]
Elsewhere, the UK's
The Guardian has a nice preview piece by Hannah Patterson.
There are also stacks of interviews with a number of the major players. I don't have time to list them all, but thankfully, Queen Spoo is a great deal more on the ball than I am. Peter Chattaway (who has now collected his all his posts on this film together) has got a number of articles up, Mary in the Movies for Christianity Today, plus previews at Christian News, and ChristianWeek, plus of course his review as noted above. He has also posted additional excerpts from his various interviews with Oscar Isaac (Joseph), Shohreh Aghdashloo (Elizabeth and director Catherine Hardwicke. Speaking of Hardwicke, CT's Mark Moring has also interviewed her.
In other Nativity News Queen Spoo has various new video bits including footage from the premiere (as well as an audio file and PowerPoint), and a behind the scenes promotional video.
Well I think that's all for now(!). I'll be posting a scene guide later this week to complement my review