Today marks the release of Promenade Picture’s first venture into the faith and family arena with the movie, the Ten Commandments. Hollywood legend Frank Yablans’ latest venture was not intended to cause controversy, but their ads have been receiving attention due to a refusal to include the phrase, “chosen by God” in advertisements and promotions aired by Disney.
The script reads:
Narrator: One of the greatest stories of all time is now an animated movie event for the entire family ... "The Ten Commandments."
God: Moses, give them my message and they will follow you out of Egypt.
Narrator: An ordinary man, an extraordinary calling.
Moses: Let my people go!
Narrator: With Ben Kingsley, Christian Slater, Alfred Molina and Elliott Gould. ... chosen by God.
Moses: On to the promised land!
Narrator: 'The Ten Commandments,' Rated G. Now in theaters. Check your local listings.
An email sent by a Radio Disney Network sales associate read, "Our BS&P [Broadcast Standards and Procedures] said both scripts need to include the studio mention and omit the following line: CHOSEN BY GOD.... Please let me know if you have any questions."
Radio Disney reported that it requested the deletion of the phrase “chosen by God” because the original script made it sound as though the actors were chosen by God, not Moses, as was the intended meaning.
"In connection with the Ten Commandments, I did find it offensive," said Cindy Bond, Promenade president and Chief Operating Officer. "God in our movie is the main character. You rip the whole guts out of the piece."
Promenade complied with Disney’s request due to the fact that Disney has the ability to reach the film’s youthful target audience.
To walk away from a place that has our exact core audience ... I ordered the spot to be re-cut and re-edited," Bond said. "If you get them into the theater, they'll hear plenty about God."
"The goal of the movie and the goal of the whole series is to interest people in the greatest stories ever told and what we feel were the greatest superheroes that ever existed," Bond said.
Promenade’s founder, Frank Yablans, decided to make his latest film because so many Americans are ignorant of the biblical Decalogue. When they conducted research for promoting the film, it was discovered that more Americans can name ingredients to the Big Mac than the 10 Commandments.
Rick Schirmer of Promenade told CNA that, “Frank is doing this film because, as he said, ‘he owes God one.’” While the fledgling film company was approached by several major studios with offers to help produce the movie series, Promenade turned them all down so that they could maintain creative control and ensure faithfulness to the biblical stories.