Hollywood Prays for Laughs from the Faithful

With 'Evan Almighty,' Universal skews pious in comedy division
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2007 4:54 AM CDT
Steve Carell, star of the film "Evan Almighty," arrives at the premiere of the film at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, Sunday, June 10, 2007. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – 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.