God is returning to the big screen this Friday in Universal's Evan Almighty, a big-budget comedy aimed at the churchgoing. The LA TImes recalls that Hollywood used to balk at religiously-inflected films, but saw the light when Mel Gibson's spiritual blockbuster The Passion of the Christ raked in $370M in 2004.
Now studios are hoping they can score with more devout humor. Evan provides a new testament to 2003's Bruce Almighty, and stars funnyman Steve Carell as a modern-day Noah who mixes slapstick antics with overt spiritual messages. Universal teamed up with Grace Hill Media, a marketing firm that specializes in churches, to promote the pic to millions of believers.