Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Films of Philip Anschutz

In his "Breakpoint" commentary today, Chuck Colson takes a look at Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, the man who put up the big bucks to film the upcoming theatrical release The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (scheduled for December 9), based on the first book in C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. Because of his concern about the types of unfamily-friendly movies Hollywood has been churning out, Anschutz, a Christian, decided to start his own film company.

Colson comments: . . .

And yet, as Anschutz noted in a recent speech, since the year 2000, Hollywood has "turned out more than five times as many R-rated films as it has films rated G or PG or soft PG-13. . . . Don't these figures make you wonder what's wrong with Hollywood just from a business point of view?"—good question Anschutz asked. The films were not just bad business; they were polluting the culture—the culture in which Anschutz's grandchildren live, a fact that made him mad. So a few years ago, he decided to stop cursing the darkness and light a cinematic candle: He went into the film business himself, forming the Anschutz Film Group and a children's division, called Walden Media. Then he got busy making movies that were not only entertaining, but also carried strong moral messages.

Anschutz has also backed such films as Ray, Because of Winn-Dixie and Holes. In addition to the Chronicles of Narnia release, he's at work on bringing to the big screen the children's classics Charlotte's Web and Bridge to Terabithia.

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