London: A new flick ‘Secretariat’ -that opens and closes with a quote from the ‘Book of Job’ and at a key moment the gospel hymn ‘Oh Happy Da’ serenades the audience-is Hollywood’s latest attempt to recruit cinema-goers from the Bible Belt.
It is the true-life story of an American thoroughbred racehorse that won the Triple Crown in 1973.
Amid big budget flops and crashing DVD sales, filmmakers are now turning to what they call "faith-based audiences," more specifically America’s vast church-going community.
The trailers of the 35 million dollar Disney production featuring the quote from Job were distributed to religious websites, previews were held for Christian groups and the film’s subtext of faith emphasised.
More commonly associated with gambling, the world of horse racing may at first seem an unlikely draw for religious conservatives but that hasn’t stopped an aggressive marketing campaign.
"I believe the function of storytelling is clearly powerful in our society. Jesus didn’t argue doctrinal questions whenever he was asked a question. He almost always responded with a story," a news daily quoted Randall Wallace, the director of the movie as saying.