More important than the lesson Mel Gibson taught Hollywood about drunken anti-Semitic tirades (that they’re bad for publicity) is the one gleaned from his 2004 film “The Passion of the Christ.” The movie demonstrated just how many evangelical moviegoers there are and how much money can be made from them.
Mindful of that market, Universal Pictures has teamed up with Grace Hill Media, a public relations firm that reaches out to religious groups, to publicize the mainstream film “Evan Almighty.” Scheduled for wide release on June 22, it stars Steve Carell as a politician who abandons Congress in order to build an ark, taking off on the story of Noah.
“Forty-three percent of this country is in church; that’s a big chunk of folks,” said Jonathan Bock, the president of Grace Hill Media. “You get into the once-a-month ”” that’s two-thirds of the country. That’s not a little niche audience.”
Mr. Bock was approached last year by Universal executives to help with publicity for “Evan Almighty,” the sequel to the director Tom Shadyac’s 2003 movie “Bruce Almighty,” which starred Jim Carrey.
One result of the effort isArkAlmighty.com, a Web site that promotes good deeds. It suggests acts of random kindness and helps participating congregations create online bulletin boards to post requests for help and offers of service among members.