Just months after the first installment of the Left Behind series starring Nicolas Cage hit the big screen last October, Cloud Ten Pictures is announcing a summer 2016 release of Left Behind 2.
Based on the New York Times bestselling Left Behind book series co-authored by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins that sold 65 million copies, next year's sequel is hoped to beat out the lackluster $14 million the first installment took in domestically at the box office ($20 million worldwide).
Preparing for the End Times
Cloud Ten Pictures producer and CEO Paul Lalonde gives his reasoning for the immediacy behind getting the green light for the film's pre-production to commence.
"We are living in the Last Days, and if the Rapture were to happen today, there are a lot of people who just aren't ready," Lalonde points out. "This is why we need to complete the story as soon as possible, beginning with Left Behind 2."
Lalonde stresses that pre-production had to get under way as soon as possible to secure a summer 2016 release – and to make it happen without Hollywood taking over different aspects of the film, Cloud Ten Pictures launched a fundraising campaign at IndieGogo.com just this week.
"... If we want to keep control of our story, we will once again have to fund the movie independently," Lalonde explains.
Lalonde says moviegoers have experienced firsthand what happens to Christian-themed films when big-budgeted secular moviemakers get their hands on biblically accurate scripts. He maintains that these production companies adapt and embellish screenplays in order to cater to the whims of audiences and make the biggest profit.
"We have all seen what happens to Christian, Bible-based stories when the Hollywood studios take control," Lalonde continues. "They rewrite God, change the fundamental meaning of God's Word and make a mockery of the Christian faith."
Lights, camera, Tribulation
Based on one of the best-selling fiction series of all time and printed in 32 different languages, the Left Behind series takes audiences through events described in the Book of Revelation, with the latest movie placing moviegoers in the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation period described in the Bible.
"Left Behind 2 picks up where the first movie left off after the day of the Rapture and will closely follow the first book in the New York Times bestselling series," the movie's press release states.
One of the commonly asked questions Lalonde receives is whether Episode 2 will be like the book.
"Absolutely … The first movie was designed to explore the day of the Rapture in more detail to bring more people into the franchise as 'The End Begins,'" Lalonde explains. "The books did not go into a lot of detail when it came to the actual events on the day of the Rapture, and much of the story was told through the thoughts of the characters. As a result, we had to take some liberties to make it work as a movie. The second film will closely follow the storyline from the rest of the book."
And the casting?
"Most of the primary cast members have signed on for multiple films," Lalonde assures moviegoers. "Others will be approached once we have our funding in place. But until we have completed our funding and set definite production dates, it is impossible to guarantee that any particular actor or actress will be involved."
The sequel springboards off the dramatic close of last fall's series opener, and Lalonde's plans for the series go far beyond two episodes.
"The last line in the Left Behind movie was an important one — 'This is only the beginning,'" Lalonde quotes. "There is a lot of story to tell."
Lalonde assures Left Behind fans that he won't stop producing the End Times films until audiences get the theatrical rendition of The Glorious Appearing: The End of Days — the twelfth and last book of the series.
"And ultimately, until my last breath or until the Lord returns, I will be pushing to bring the entire story of the End Time prophecies to the big screen," Lalonde insists. "With so many people not yet ready, we need to complete they story has soon as possible."