Religious Films Pull in Big Bucks in Indonesia
As the fasting month draws nearer, the country’s cinemas are embracing their spiritual side by welcoming a spate of new releases based on religious themes.
This week’s premiere of “Surat Kecil Untuk Tuhan” (“A Little Letter to God”), a film about a teenager suffering from cancer who finds salvation through religion, is just one of many spiritual cinematic excursions sure to greet moviegoers over the following month.
These theistic theatrics are, for the most part, welcomed with open arms. As a country steeped in spirituality, Indonesia is no newcomer to the idea of religion-themed entertainment.
Religious releases have previously done extremely well at the box office here. In 2009, the homegrown blockbuster “Ketika Cinta Bertasbih,” roughly translated as “When Love Is Glory,” sold more than 115,000 tickets on its first day of screening, according to the film’s producers. Based on a novel about an Indonesian student in Cairo, it became 2009’s most-watched film, attracting over three million viewers.