Soul Surfer is what they call in the industry a crossover movie. It’s a rare bird. A film that can appeal to a primarily Christian audience but at the same time has the ability to reach a broader mainstream audience. And according to the results, Soul Surfer has been a big success earning over $44 million at the box office. There’s a fair amount of Christian content within the film, but it never overwhelms the story. Soul Surfer is not an excuse to be a church resource or study guide. It’s a real movie. The Christian content is authentic and works well within the story.
Hamilton decides to fight back and continue to pursue her passion. Can she overcome her disability and become competitive? Soul Surfer is more of a sports movie than just a Christian film. In fact, you might think of it as Rocky, except with a lot of water.
Soul Surfer has an outstanding cast, which raises the overall quality of the film. The producers were wise to bring in top talent, such as Helen Hunt, who plays Bethany’s mother, Cheri Hamilton, and Dennis Quaid, who portrays Bethany’s father, Tom Hamilton. Rounding out the cast is Carrie Underwood, who plays Sarah Hill, the youth pastor who helps Bethany discover what’s really important in life.
Feeling that the story needed more punch, McNamara went back to the Hamilton’s and got details that were not in the book. That became the difference that made the film a reality.
Central to the story is the conflict that came after the shark attack—dealing with the pain, the family quarrelling, and how they had to come to terms with the events of that fateful day. This approach helped to lift Soul Surfer from being just another movie of the week. My only criticism is I wish they had pushed these themes a little bit harder.
There you have it—quality acting, an outstanding story, great production values, a killer soundtrack, beautiful scenery, conflict, and one huge bad shark. So if you want to make a successful crossover movie that’s not afraid to mention faith and God, while at the same time never forgetting that it is a movie that has to entertain and captivate its audience, then your blueprint is Soul Surfer