Cloud Ten Pictures' Left Behind: World at War
premieres Thursday in Hollywood, but not at any of the usual venues such as Grauman's Chinese Theatre or the ArcLight. Instead, the direct-to-video feature about the years of tribulation following the Rapture, when true Christians are taken into heaven, will premiere at the Hollywood Presbyterian Church before playing weekend engagements in more than 3,200 churches nationwide. Meanwhile, in New York, Picturehouse -- which just opened the Israeli film Ushpizin
in exclusive engagements -- will make that film available to Orthodox Jews by arranging special paid showings at Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Boro Park, at which men and women will sit on separate sides of the auditorium. As different as both films are, what they have in common is Hollywood's increasing interest in courting religious-minded audiences. While Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ
, which grossed $370 million domestically, remains something of the Holy Grail, distributors are reaching out to various faiths to fan interest in their features. The Left Behind
screenings have been designed as a grass-roots campaign paving the way for the title's DVD release Wednesday by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (HR 8/19).