September 26, 2008 (Theatrical)
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Fireproof is a 2008 American Christian drama film by Samuel Goldwyn Films and Sherwood Pictures. Alex Kendrick directed the film, and also co-wrote and co-produced it with his brother, Stephen Kendrick. The supporting cast is made up of volunteers from Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, where the Kendrick brothers are associate pastors. The lead role Caleb Holt was portrayed by Kirk Cameron, and also starring were Erin Bethea, Ken Bevel, Stephen Dervan and Jason McLeod.
On a budget of $500,000, Fireproof opened in theaters on September 26, 2008, and was the highest grossing independent film of 2008, with $33,456,317 domestically. Reviews for the film were mixed, with Christians groups giving positive reviews and film critics giving generally negative reviews. It was also released to DVD on January 27, 2009, with over $25,000,000 in DVD sales. The film received the Best Feature Film award at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. thumb|300px|left
Captain Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron) is a firefighter in Albany, Georgia and firmly keeps the cardinal rule of all firemen, "Never leave your partner behind". But Caleb's home life is an altogether different story; his seven-year marriage to his wife Catherine (Erin Bethea) is on the verge of implosion. Neither one understands the pressures the other faces, and after a heated argument in which Caleb screams in Catherine's face, she declares she wants out of the marriage, and takes off her wedding ring.
While Caleb claims to his friends and co-workers that Catherine is over-sensitive and disrespectful, Catherine simultaneously claims to her peers that Caleb is insensitive to her needs and doesn't listen to her. Further catalyzing Catherine's motivation for divorce is Caleb's addiction to Internet pornography and a large sum of money he has saved up for a fishing boat he intends to buy, ignoring the fact that Catherine's disabled mother is in need of hospital equipment that she cannot afford, and which insurance refuses to cover. Caleb tells his father, John, about the impending divorce, and John challenges Caleb to commit to a 40-day test called, "The Love Dare." Caleb reluctantly agrees to do the test, but more for the sake of his father than his marriage. Catherine initially sees through Caleb's half-hearted attempts to win back her heart, which deepens Caleb's frustration. But with his father's encouragement, Caleb continues with The Love Dare, and eventually makes a life-changing commitment to God, unbeknownst to Catherine.
Meanwhile, Catherine begins flirting with Dr. Gavin Keller (Perry Revell) at the hospital where she works. She begins to open up to him about some of her problems, chiefly her mother's need for the hospital equipment which she can't afford, but as she's no longer wearing her wedding ring, Keller doesn't know Catherine is married, at least not until Caleb is brought to the hospital later. Catherine comes up to Caleb in the emergency room as Keller is treating him, and a nurse says that Caleb is Catherine's husband. Through the guidance of The Love Dare, and as a result of his commitment to Christ, Caleb begins to understand what it means to truly love his wife. He begins pulling more of his own weight at home, doing household chores and running errands, and even leaving real roses for Catherine. Soon Caleb even finds the motivation to destroy his computer and everything on it, smashing it to pieces with a baseball bat. However, Catherine is still intent on filing for divorce, much to Caleb's anguish.
When Catherine goes to the home care store to talk with a clerk about the unpaid equipment her mother needs, the clerk tells her that all the equipment has been paid for in full and is being installed at her mother's house. Believing it was Dr. Keller that paid the $24,300 price, Catherine goes to Keller at the hospital to thank him and sets up a lunch date with him. Meanwhile, Caleb finds out about Dr. Keller through a card for Catherine that she left at home, so he goes to the hospital and warns Dr. Keller that, even with his mistakes, he will not step aside and let Keller have Catherine without a fight. The doctor gets the message and quickly cools the relationship with Catherine, and the viewer learns that Dr. Keller is married and hides his ring in a desk drawer.
When Caleb finds Catherine at home sick in bed, he decides to take care of her, with food and medicine. Bewildered at his new bedside manner, Catherine asks Caleb what's happening to him. Caleb starts to tell Catherine about The Love Dare, and she pulls Caleb's book out from underneath the blanket next to her. Caleb kneels before Catherine and tearfully apologizes for his selfish behavior and asks her forgiveness. While Catherine admits she sees some change in Caleb, she still cannot bring herself to trust him and believe he has changed. Caleb understands and gives her as much time as she needs to think things over.
Days later, Catherine returns to the home care store to purchase linens for her mother's new hospital bed, mentioning to the clerk that linens were the only thing Dr. Keller didn't pay for. But when the clerk reveals to Catherine that it was Caleb two weeks prior who paid $24,000 (Keller contributed only $300), Catherine bursts into tears and leaves the store. Now fully convinced of Caleb's genuine change of heart, Catherine runs home crying to put her wedding ring back on her finger. After freshening up, she goes straight to the fire house to tell Caleb that she now forgives him, and the two lovingly embrace.
Caleb's parents come to visit. While talking to his son, Caleb's father reveals that, contrary to what Caleb had believed, he did not do The Love Dare on his wife, she did it on him. This causes Caleb to recognize the impact his mother has had in his life, and rushes home to reconcile with her. Caleb and Catherine renew their vows in an outdoor ceremony, this time as a covenant with God. The film ends with a shot of glued salt and pepper shakers atop the wedding cake.
Fireproof's cast included more than 1,200 volunteers from Sherwood Baptist Church. The main cast was:
- Kirk Cameron as Caleb Holt
- Erin Bethea as Catherine Holt
- Ken Bevel as Michael Simmons
- Stephen Dervan as Wayne Floyd
- Eric Young as Terrell Sanders
- Jason McLeod as Eric Harmon
- Renata Williams as Latasha Brown
- Alex Kendrick as Pastor Strauss
- Chelsea Noble, Cameron's real-life wife, appears in a scene near the end when Cameron's character kisses his wife. Filmed in shadow with Noble disguised to look like Bethea, this was done because of Cameron's specific belief that a man should not kiss any woman other than his wife.
Production and marketingEdit
Fireproof was filmed during various days of October–December 2007. The production was based on a budget of $500,000. It was shot in 16 locations, all of which were donated. Craig von Buseck of the Christian Broadcasting Network said that the movie was, "beautifully shot in and around Albany, Georgia, home to Sherwood [Baptist] Church." The Albany Fire Department donated its fire station locations, trucks and even some of its crew for use during the filming. They were also donated a train and a hospital wing. The film's cast was made up of 1,200 volunteers, and several technical crewmen who worked below rate. Instead of marketing with television spots and billboards, Fireproof's marketers invited Christian publications to the set and screened the film early for pastors and church groups. Meyer Gottlieb, president of Samuel Goldwyn Films said, "The marketing is more grass roots."
The Love Dare, a book written by Alex and Stephen Kendrick relating to marriage, is a centerpiece of the film's plot. Alex Kendrick said in an interview that Fireproof would be "a drama/romance about marriage. Our goal is to reinforce God's intention for marriage." Fireproof has been endorsed by many Christian marriage-oriented organizations, and it is partnered with Fireproof My Marriage.
Fireproof My MarriageEdit
Fireproof My Marriage is a ministry of Sherwood Pictures and Fireproof, which was created to build and strengthen marriages through tools it offers and has different sections of its ministries, for couples, churches, communities, businesses and firefighters. It is partnered with Focus on the Family and FamilyLife, as well as other ministries. On March 27–28, 2009, a Fireproof My Marriage seminar was held at First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida. Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick, Ted Cunningham, and Michael Catt, among others, were guest speakers.
The film soundtrack for Fireproof is set to be released on July 14, 2009. It features songs by Christian groups and artists, such as Casting Crowns and Third Day.
- "Fireproof" – Main Title
- "Brighter Days" – Leeland
- "This is Who I Am" – Third Day
- "On the Tracks"
- "The Love Dare"
- "Slow Fade" – Casting Crowns
- "Not Good Enough"
- "What You Don't Have"
- "House Fire"
- "While I'm Waiting" – John Waller
- "The Apology"
- "Personal Sacrifice"
- "You Belong to Me" – Grey Holiday
- "She Did It To Me"
- "Love Is Not a Fight (Movie Version)" – Warren Barfield
- Bonus Track: "While I'm Waiting (Fireproof Remix)" – John Waller
Fireproof was released on September 26, 2008, and received an MPAA rating of PG for "thematic material and some peril."
2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival
- Best Feature Film
- Runner up for Best of Festival.
17th Annual Movieguide Faith & Values Awards Gala
- $100,000 Epiphany Prize
The Dove Foundation's Crystal Seal Awards
- Best Drama