Ridley Scott's Christian-Bale-as-Moses epic Exodus: Gods and Kings won't be out until December, but he's already working on another Old Testament story: King David. So we're forced to wonder: Are Biblical epics officially back?
Save for The Passion of the Christ, big-budget Bible stories fell out of vogue in Hollywood in the 60s, when their budgets (and those of musicals) were blamed for the industry's financial woes. But now, we've already seen Noah and the miniseries-turned-film Son of God (from reality show king Mark Burnett, no less). And they've been successful! Or successful enough to justify the spate of films of the genre that have been commissioned.
And the latest film on the list, says Variety, will be a film about David, written by Jonathan Stokes. Which reportedly won't focus on the famous David versus Goliath tale, but on David's reign after that event. And, if they want Scott to direct it, Fox is going to have to find space in his already packed schedule.
As for why we're seeing Biblical epics making a resurgence, the Wall Street Journal opined in 2012 that it's all those expensive superhero movies, with their licensing fees and the potential lawsuits:
For the studios, the commercial benefits of reviving biblical movies could be substantial. For one, the comic-book heroes Hollywood has banked on for the past 10 years require studios to pay licensing fees with publishers, authors and heirs who own copyright to the characters. Walt Disney's Marvel Entertainment, for instance, licenses its Spider-Man property to Sony and its X-Men to Fox. Marvel receives a percentage of the film's gross, estimated by analysts to be as high as 5%. Licensing also opens the door to legal skirmishes, such as Warner Bros.' protracted copyright battle over the rights to the Superman franchise.
The bible also provides plenty of dramatic storylines and characters. "If you're doing big, epic effects films, you're going to run out of flying superheroes. These are superheroes of the ancient time," said Bob Berney, who oversaw the marketing of "The Passion of the Christ" when he was president of Newmarket Films.
Well, we're certainly looking forward to the battle between the Bible and comics in the box office.