Did you watch the new trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey and immediately think to yourself, “That looks okay, I guess, but instead of a parade of seductive stares, bondage, and Beyoncé, I’d much rather go see a chaste, Christian-friendly love story on Valentine’s Day next year?”
If that was somehow you, your prayers have been answered.
Variety reports that Freestyle Releasing, which distributed the successful anti-atheism, Duck-Dynasty-stars-featuring film God’s Not Dead, is serving up a Christian-friendly alternative to the kink and glamour of the Fifty Shades of Grey film adaptation. The indie flick—titled Old Fashioned—is also set for release on Valentine’s Day 2015, and follows the romance between a reformed frat bro and free-spirited lady. Freestyle co-president Mark Borde says the film specifically targets the “underserved” Christian-singles community. “Chivalry makes a comeback,” reads the film’s tagline.
“I wanted to tell a love story that takes the idea of godly romance seriously,” Rik Swartzwelder, writer, director, and star, told Variety. “Opening the same weekend as Fifty Shades, there’s definitely a David v. Goliath comparison. 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.”
Swartzwelder previously helmed the short film The Least of These. He did not respond to a request for comment.
The Fifty Shades trailer was recently slammed by Morality in Media, a faith-based nonprofit that, among other things, hounds politicians regularly about outlawing porn. (But to be real for a second, the highly anticipated, thoroughly hyped Fifty Shades trailer is some tame stuff—just ask the BDSM crowd.)
Obviously, there’s little reason to believe any of the religious or moral objectors to the rough sex inFifty Shades will have any discernible impact on its box-office performance. But even if the David of Old Fashioned doesn’t crush the Goliath of Fifty Shades (spoiler: it won’t), Freestyle and Swartzwelder might have a large audience waiting for them, anyway. Faith-based theatrical counterprogramming to Hollywood has found new momentum recently, with the cash hauls of Son of God, Heaven Is for Real, and Freestyle’s own God’s Not Dead, which took in over $60 million, making it the company’s best performer.
Freestyle is surely hoping for a repeat of that faith-driven success. Although the company's previous titles also include the anti-Palin doc Sarah Palin: You Betcha!, the Uwe Boll disasterpiece Postal, which ruthlessly parodied George W. Bush, and I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, a raunchy comedy written by and featuring noted misogynist Tucker Max.