The new film adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ classic “Narnia: the Lion the witch and the wardrobe” fantasy has topped box office charts both in the U.S. and internationally, recently toppling the much touted remake of ‘King Kong.’
While some had doubted that the film’s heavily Christian allegory would be able to hold up at the box office, most doubts have likely abated as Narnia overtook Kong for Hollywood’s top spot in the days since Christmas.
R. Kinsey Lowe of the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that “’King Kong’ surpassed ‘Narnia’ over the four-day Christmas weekend with a Sunday-Monday boost, but the Disney movie directed by ‘Shrek’ veteran Andrew Adamson outperformed Peter Jackson’s extravaganza on every day since then.”
Some speculate that hints of the tenuous “culture wars” are playing out in the film’s success while others simply think ‘Narnia’ appeals to a broader market.
The film website, monstersandcritics.com bluntly labeled the box office battle, “Jesus versus King Kong” and said that Narnia is “now showing more places than 'Kong' and its slightly shorter running time makes it easier for theaters to fit in more showings.”
“'King Kong'“, they reported, “has the better critical consensus but not necessarily better word of mouth. Christian groups are pushing hard for their parishioners to get out and watch the loose Christ-allegory in ‘Chronicles of Narnia.‘”
Many have praised the Narnia movies, which will continue to be released over the next several years in line with Lewis’ books, as Christianity’s answer to the popular ‘Harry Potter’ series.
Likewise, the film’s success has surely been accelerated by the recent completion and huge success of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ film adaptation trilogy.
Moreover, with ‘Narnia’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ appealing to such large, mainstream audiences, experts say that the door could now be open to more directly Christian-themed films.
Whatever the exact causes, this much is clear to the film industry: monster Kong has his work cut out for him as he races the lion Aslan, Narnia’s principal hero, for success at the box office this holiday season.