Contributed A promotional still from Son of God.
With a number of Biblical-themed films slated for release in 2014, religious films are back in vogue a decade after Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ earned $611 million and became the highest grossing non-English language film of all time.
In a time when religion is on the wane in North America, religious movies seem to still have box office draw and studios are readily throwing money behind them.  John Pungente, director of the Jesuit Communication Project in Toronto, says studios continue to make them for one big reason.  “Money.  Studios are taking a leap of faith that films with religious figures as super heroes who save the world will bring in big money like The Passion of the Christ.”
Last year’s most watched TV cable miniseries, The Bible, from devout Christians Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, averaged 11.4 million viewers per episode and became the top-selling DVD miniseries ever — 525,000 copies were sold in the first week. Burnett made the series over strenuous objections in Hollywood.
Downey and Burnett’s feature film on the life of Christ, Son of God is in theatres next week and Darren Aronofsky’s Noah with Russell Crowe and Exodus, Ridley Scott’s biblical epic starring Christian Bale as Moses are also due out this year.
Next year, we’ll see Ang Lee’s Gods and Kings, currently in development, and Mary (Mother of Christ) with Odeya Rush, Ben Kingsley and the late Peter O’Toole.  All are big budget special effects epics.
Burnett, best known for his pioneering work in reality TV, says producing religious content is more than just a money maker. “This is for billions of people the most important story in their lives,” he says.