By Dave McNary
Freestyle Releasing, which generated strong grosses for God’s Not Dead, is offering up a challenge next Valentine’s Day to Fifty Shades of Grey with faith-based romance Old Fashioned.
“I wanted to tell a love story that takes the idea of Godly romance seriously,” said Rik Swartzwelder, writer-director and lead actor. “A story that, without apology, explores the possibility of a higher standard in relationships; yet, is also fully aware of just how fragile we all are and doesn’t seek to heap guilt upon those of us that have made mistakes.”
Swartzwelder plays a former frat boy and Elizabeth Ann Roberts will portray a free-spirited woman. The tagline is “Chivalry makes a comeback.”
“Opening the same weekend as Fifty Shades, there’s definitely a David v. Goliath comparison,” Swartzwelder said. “They will have more screens, more money, more hype … but we’re hopeful that we are not alone in our belief that there are others out there who desire more from love–and the movies–than objectification or domination.”
God’s Not Dead topped $60 million earlier this year, representing by far the highest gross for any Freestyle release. Co-president Mark Borde asserted Old Fashioned is the first faith-based theatrical release to specifically target the “underserved” Christian singles audience.
Producers are Swartzwelder’s Skoche Films, Nathan Nazario of Motion Picture Pro Studios, Dave DeBorde and Nini Hadjis. The film also stars Dorothy Silver, Tyler Hollinger, Lejon Woods, Nini Hadjis, Maryann Nagel and Joseph Bonamico.
The announcement comes four days after Universal debuted the first “Fifty Shades” trailer, featuring several sex and bondage scenes with Dakota Johnson (pictured above). Fox is also releasing its Poltergeist reboot on Valentine’s Day weekend.