War Room Bio
War Room is a 2015 American Christian drama film directed by Alex Kendrick and written by himself and Stephen Kendrick.
It is the Kendrick brothers’ fifth film and their first through their subsidiary, Kendrick Brothers Productions.Provident Films, Affirm Films and TriStar Pictures partnered with the Kendrick brothers to release the film.
War Room Release
The film was released in North American theaters on August 28, 2015, and received generally negative reviews from critics, but became a box office success and a sleeper hit, grossing $74 million worldwide.
War Room Synopsis/ Review
Tony, a pharmaceutical salesman, is almost never there for his daughter, Danielle; has been verbally abusive with Elizabeth; and has thoughts about cheating on his wife with other women he has been looking at.
Elizabeth, a realtor, goes to work with the elderly Miss Clara to sell her house.
Miss Clara senses the stress Elizabeth is under, and suggests that Elizabeth fight for their marriage by praying for Tony.
Miss Clara shows Elizabeth a special closet she has dedicated to praying, and calls it her “War Room” because as she puts it, “In order to stand up and fight the enemy, you need to get on your knees and pray.” As Elizabeth starts to seriously pray for her husband, Tony is away on a business trip but is having dinner with a beautiful woman who invites him back to her apartment.
Unknown to Elizabeth and Danielle, he has been keeping several samples for himself.
Elizabeth successfully sells Miss Clara’s house to a retired pastor who realizes someone has been praying in the closet.
The film ends with Tony giving Elizabeth her favorite dessert while he gives her a foot massage, something she loves, and Miss Clara, now living with her son, praying a powerful prayer in the still of the night.
War Room Cast
- Priscilla Shirer as Elizabeth Jordan
- T.C. Stallings as Tony Jordan
- Karen Abercrombie as Miss Clara Williams
- Alex Kendrick as Coleman Young
- Michael Jr. as Michael
- Alena Pitts as Danielle Jordan
- Beth Moore as Mandy
- Tenae Downing as Veronica Drake
- Ben Davies as Policeman
War Room Production
For this film, Alex and Stephen Kendrick decided to move away from Sherwood Pictures, the church based film production company which had previously produced their films.
In part the brothers left because they felt that the movie-making was distracting from other parts of the church’s ministry, with Alex telling The Hollywood Reporter that they felt “We were the elephant in the room.” Instead, the brothers produced the film through FaithStep Films and released it through Sony Pictures.
Regarding the title of the film, director Kendrick says “We called it ‘War Room’ because, like the military, we should seek God for the right strategy before going into combat. By combat, I mean daily issues we face in our culture.” The brothers got their inspiration from prayer, with Alex stating that he believes even the idea of a war room was given to them by God.
War Room cover photo
War Room African-American
African-American portrayal Initial plans had the main characters being white; however, Alex began having dreams about a predominantly African-American cast and, believing that God was trying to tell him something, the brothers switched the characters to make it more in line with Alex’s dream.
Early on, Sony expressed some concerns over a film with a mostly African-American cast produced by a white-led production company, but the brothers stuck to the premise.
Several characters in the film are African-American and being released only months after the Charleston church shooting, those involved with the film say they don’t believe that the timing of the film’s release is a coincidence.
War Room Music
1. “Warrior” by Steven Curtis
2. “Impossible” by Building
3. “Press On” byMandisa
4. “Me Without You (Remix)” by TobyMac
5. “Crazy Faith” by John Waller
6. “Shake Yourself Loose” Vickie by Winans
7. “Amen” by I Am They
8. “To Know You” by Casting Crowns
9. “Healing Begins” by Tenth Avenue North
10. “Movie Score by (Raise ‘Em Up, Lord / Rekindle the Fire
War Room Reception
War Room grossed $67.8 million in the United States and Canada and $6.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $74 million, against a production budget of $3 million.
In its opening weekend, the film grossed $11.4 million, more than double initial projections, finishing second at the box office behind third-week number one holder Straight Outta Compton with only 1/3 the number of theaters and twice the gross revenue per theater.
In its second weekend, the film finished first at the box office with $9.5 million, and became the first film to reach the number 1 spot at the North American box office with a gross of less than $10 million since The Possession reached number 1 in its second weekend with $9.31 million during the same weekend in 2012.
Over its four-day Labor Day weekend, the film posted an 18% increase with a weekend total of $13.4 million from 1,526 screens.
Regarding War Room’s box office performance, CNN said “Some might call it a faith-based David versus the secular Goliaths in the entertainment industry”.
It still ranked number 3 in its third week, increasing its screen count to 1,647 with revenue of $7.8 million.
It increased it screen count by 295, but dropped to sixth place to $6.2 million.
War Room Prayer Book
- The Battle Plan for Prayer: From Basic Training to Targeted Strategies
- Powerful Prayers in the War Room: Learning to Pray Like a Powerful Prayer Warrior
- War Room: Prayer Is a Powerful Weapon
- War Room Bible Study – Bible Study Book
- Powerful Jesus in the War Room: Hear Jesus Calling and Change Your Life
War Room Responses
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 33% based on 33 reviews, with an average rating of 4.4/10. Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 26 out of 100, based on 11 critics, indicating “Generally unfavorable reviews”.
On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film a rare average grade of “A” on an A to F scale, while PostTrak-surveyed filmgoers gave the film a 73% “Definite recommend”.
The Los Angeles Times called the film “More of a Bible study than anything else” and “So heavy on broad pulpit pounding that it’s challenging to get swept away by the story’s message.” The A.V. Club called it “Structurally listless and unimaginative”, and said that it was “Creepy to encourage women to believe the true source of their husbandly woes is Satan rather than an issue that probably needs to be discussed.” Christian-focused publications gave it positive reviews, however.
The Christian Post praised the film, calling it better than Courageous and Fireproof.
According to Crosswalk.com “It comes as good news that War Room is a step up for the Kendricks, who continue to develop as filmmakers.” Nick Olszyk of Catholic World Report similarly praised the film, writing it successfully portrayed “Prayer… forgiveness, temptation, conversion, and, most importantly, the cosmic struggle between God and the devil that occur in every home and every heart.”
War Room Interview
When War Room landed in theaters Labor Day weekend, no one could’ve predicted the low-budget faith-based film focused on prayer would ever end up No.1 at the box office. Fast-forward a couple of months, the film has now made millions of dollars, been seen by hundreds of thousands of movie-goers and started a prayer revival across the country.
We had the opportunity to talk to director Alex Kendrick before the film was released earlier this year – when he and his brother, fellow filmmaker Stephen Kendrick, were unsure yet hopeful about the reach and impact their small movie might have – and we thought it be a good idea to check back in with him now that the film is set to hit shelves in DVD form later this month.
From the incredible reception by audiences to how the brothers prayed War Room into being, and yes, those poor movie reviews, Kendrick shared what went into making the film and how the journey isn’t over yet.
War Room debuted huge in terms of audience numbers. What was it like seeing that reaction and reception from movie-goers?
It’s thrilling but it’s obviously an indication that it really touched the audience. We’ve heard of people seeing it four, five, even six times. There’s a sweet, older lady that had never been to see a movie in a theater and her children talked her into going to see it. She was so moved by the film that she went back five times, taking her friends and neighbors to go see it. It just proves the movie really did touch a nerve.
You’ve been vocal about how important is to you to have your films inspire people’s faith life. Have you had any feedback from fans of the film?
To hear people’s testimonies about how they’ve renewed their passion for prayer, making it a priority, it’s amazing. We spoke with a pastor up in Minnesota, he was talking with a local construction contractor and the contractor told this pastor, ‘The weirdest thing is going on. I’ve been hired eight times this month to remodel closets to make space for prayer in these people’s homes.’ He hadn’t seen the movie at the time but once he did, he understood.
We would never say the magic is in the closet itself, but people are making prayer a priority, finding a place where they’re not distracted in order to pray.
Do you think the success of the film is a product of timing, good content or both?
All we knew to do was to spend that season of prayer saying, ‘God, what do you want this next movie to be about?’ He prompted us to make it about strategic praying. So when we did it, we prayed that the Lord guide the entire team to the right release date, the right marketing strategy. We devoted the whole project to prayer and I see how God responded to that.
I would never say that we’re smart enough to figure out how to make a hit movie. All I know to do is to pray and do our best, but we really did seek the Lord and I really did see his fingerprints on each part of this movie. It did seem like the timing was appropriate, with everything going on in our culture, with racial issues with the need for prayer and everything going on in politics – I think it just encouraged a lot of people.
Each of the films you’ve made focuses on a specific theme. Why make a movie about prayer?
Most people, especially believers, would say that they pray to some degree but almost all of them say that they do not pray enough. That was telling for us. When we asked people, ‘Do you have a strategy for finances, or retirement or your health?’ many people did. When we’d ask, ‘Well, how do you pray strategically?’ we’d often get blank looks. Prayer is what we’re called to do on a regular basis to seek the Lord. You never regret spending time in prayer. You never say ‘Wow that was totally pointless.’ No one says that that has a walk with God.
Was prayer a big part of your life growing up and did it influence your decision to venture into faith-based filmmaking?
My father was a minister, my mom was a Christian school teacher, so we did grow up in that atmosphere but I would say it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I made my own walk with God a priority. The fact that I grew up in a faith-friendly home, I took it for granted.
I didn’t know what else to compare it to because it was all that I knew, but in making my faith my own — where I’m not a believer in Jesus Christ just because my parents are, where I now have my own relationship with the Lord — that was very important to me. In my 20s, that developed and is continuing to develop. The Lord continues to give me milestone events in my life that increase my faith, increase my understanding, and increase my thirst.
It’s not just the film that you’ve dedicated to this idea of strategic prayer, you also have devotionals, bible resources and a book accompanying the film. Is it important to you to reach out to audiences after they leave the theater and offer them something more than just entertainment?
It’s very important to us that the movie not just be this event that you go to where you’re entertained or inspired for a couple of hours. When people walk out of the theater, we don’t want to stop there, we want to present them with whatever tools we can to help them continue walking that path.
The Battle Plan for Prayer was written specifically for someone who saw War Room and said ‘I need to pray more specifically but how do I do that?’ It gives you a better understanding of what prayer is and what it is not. It’s not just treating God like a genie in a lamp. It’s part of a two-way communication where we acknowledge the Lord and open our hearts for Him to communicate back to us.
Our goal is, what can we provide to help people take that next step and learn what prayer can be?
Historically, critics haven’t been kind to most faith-based films. How do you handle having a huge success with movie-goers but poor reviews by movie critics?
There is an element of low-budget quality to a lot of faith-based films and I’m happy that it’s slowly growing, but it takes time for that to happen. There are some valid criticisms of Christian films, but that’s slowly getting better.
From a spiritual standpoint, critics that review Hollywood movies have a steady diet of films that aren’t interested in faith themes and honoring the Lord, they’re just interested in pure entertainment. When you have a steady diet of those things and then you’re jerked into the nurture and nutrition of a faith film, it can catch you off guard and they don’t know what to do with it.
If you look at all of our films on Rotten Tomatoes, instead of critics and audiences agreeing, we usually have very high audience approval ratings and very low critic ratings. There’s an ocean between those two. What that tells us is that the critics that review Hollywood movies don’t necessarily resonate with our films. You know, that’s okay.
We don’t make these movies trying to win Academy Awards, we make them to minister to people. We definitely want to improve the quality and craftsmanship, but our goal is to honor the Lord by drawing people to Him.