‘Fifty Shades’ to be Challenged by Faith-Based Romance


Freestyle Releasing, which generated strong grosses for “God’s Not Dead,” is offering up a challenge next Valentine’s Day to “Fifty Shades of Grey” with faith-based romance “Old Fashioned.”

“I wanted to tell a love story that takes the idea of Godly romance seriously,” said Rik Swartzwelder, writer-director and lead actor.  “A story that, without apology, explores the possibility of a higher standard in relationships; yet, is also fully aware of just how fragile we all are and doesn’t seek to heap guilt upon those of us that have made mistakes.”

Swartzwelder plays a former frat boy and Elizabeth Ann Roberts will portray a free-spirited woman. The tagline is “Chivalry makes a comeback.”

“Opening the same weekend as ‘Fifty Shades,’ there’s definitely a David v. Goliath comparison,” Swartzwelder said. “They will have more screens, more money, more hype . . . but we’re hopeful that we are not alone in our belief that there are others out there who desire more from love–and the movies–than objectification or domination.”

“God’s Not Dead” topped $60 million earlier this year, representing by far the highest gross for any Freestyle release. Co-president Mark Borde asserted “Old Fashioned” is the first faith-based theatrical release to specifically target the “underserved” Christian singles audience.

Producers are Swartzwelder’s Skoche Films, Nathan Nazario of Motion Picture Pro Studios, Dave DeBorde and Nini Hadjis. The film also stars Dorothy Silver, Tyler Hollinger, Lejon Woods, Nini Hadjis, Maryann Nagel and Joseph Bonamico.

The announcement comes four days after Universal debuted the first “Fifty Shades” trailer, featuring several sex and bondage scenes with Dakota Johnson (pictured above). Fox is also releasing its “Poltergeist” reboot on Valentine’s Day weekend.



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  1. stay says:

    what causes chin line acne

  2. Heidi says:

    Wonderful movie! Worth seeing! Worth buying!

  3. ddavault says:

    Reblogged this on Pinwheel in a Hurricane and commented:
    There is an alternative to the anything goes, nothing matters Fifty Shades version of “love”. Call it Old Fashioned if you will…

  4. SandyJ says:

    I am looking forward to the movie Old Fashioned. I read just a little of Fifty Shades on amazon.com. One movie honors women and is true romance. The other (Fifty Shades if you don’t get it), is a sick, twisted story of people without a moral compass in their lives. I do NOT want to be used and abused. I want real romance! I am thankful for a husband who loves me the Old Fashioned way.

  5. Kim Willay-Jenkins says:

    I think this is a cash grab. This guy wrote, directed and cast himself as the lead?

    Then someone got the notion to pit it versus FSOG?

    This is a tawdry and cheap move to make a big cash grab.

    sadly with faith based movies, you can deliver crap so long as you hold tight to the message and pound it home.

    Because the faith based audience has little to choose from, they are accepting of poorly made and scripted movies.

    This allows such crap like this to swoop in and win the lottery.

    God’s Not Dead was not a good movie. At all, I wanted it to be. It just really sucked as a movie and the characters lacked any real depth AT ALL.

    But because there is so little for the faith based to enjoy; it made a ton of cash and will clean up on DVD>

    Like Kirk Cameron with that awful Fireproof movie that made money and was drivel.

    This is awful. I really wish these folks would believe in their audience and deliver something with characters, strong plotlines and more than just a message hammered home repeatedly over 90 minutes.

    At least only the people on screen get F-ed in FSOG.

    In Old Fashioned? The audience will be the ones F-ed

    Out of their money.

    • Unlike you, I’ve actually seen a screening of Old Fashioned and know a bit of the story of how it ended up with a Valentine’s Day release. Most of your assumptions and assertions are wrong. It was actually done well before FSOG and has been on the shelf for a couple of years since winning some indie festivals. They have very similar story lines, believe it or not, which makes its release on Valentine’s weekend all the more interesting.

      The film is a lot more complex than I thought it would be, and a lot more thought-provoking. Much more so than God’s Not Dead, which I also didn’t care for. The acting and script have some weak points, but it’s surprisingly good quality. Much better than God’s Not Dead or Fireproof.

      I’d encourage couples to give it a try.

  6. Bruce Hakim says:

    My wife read parts of 50 Shades out loud to me; that was provocative and cool. Can’t wait to hold her and pray to Jesus at the same time when we go see OF together!

  7. but why is ELjames ..sorry.. dakota’s pic on this article…?

  8. Reblogged this on the Urban Honesty Blog and commented:
    I am not interested in seeing Fifty Shades, but I will see this instead:

  9. MM says:

    That’s a lot of photoshop in her face

  10. Roger Morris says:

    More drivel, like the last one. At best, preaching to the choir.

  11. cadavra says:

    There’s no “battle” here. They clearly appeal to totally different audiences. There’s plenty of room in the marketplace for both (as well as other pictures for people like me, who won’t see either of them). Why does everything have to be so damn confrontational?

  12. Howard Scoggins says:

    I have seen Swartzwelder’s work and I am excited to learn that more is coming. Seriously, excited to see it. OK, you compare, using the David and Goliath story. Just remember who won that fight.

    Howard Scoggins
    Hagerstown, MD

  13. Cam says:

    Godly romance? Sounds hot!

    • Surprisingly more than you’d think. I saw a screener and it was a lot more complex and thought-provoking than I’d expected. In many ways, it parallels the basic plotline of 50 shades, even though it was made before it and has been on the shelf since winning some indie awards.

    • actorforchrist says:

      Hotter than you might think

  14. TONY says:

    So why would I need to challenge a dirt movie like ‘Fifty shades’ to God????
    God has already won.
    I don’t need a lofty challenge to prove ANYTHING.

  15. Snore says:

    Okay, so he’s a former frat boy/BMOC with a seriously checkered past, who discovered The Good Book to keep him on the straight and narrow. She’s a “free-spirited” woman (as in total screw up) who has lost her faith in everything. He gently thumps Scripture into her (and that’s ALL he thumps into her)…she sees the Light…and they all live happily ever after. Final shot: the 2 of them snuggly-buggly on a porch swing, a white picket fence in the foreground. Just saved many of you $10-12 bucks.

  16. Walt says:


    I actually hope this POS beats that POS to be honest.
    But you guys can be a pain. God’s Not Dead, Heaven is for Real, and especially Son of God rode the Noah publicity trail all along the way. And now the same with this.

    What do you have ready at the end of the year that will ride with Exodus:GaK? Better get on it,

  17. Glenn C. says:

    It is David vs. Goliath but we all know the outcome of that confrontation! :)

  18. JW says:

    Do people think there isn’t room in the marketplace for both of these products? Sounds like “OF” is just trying to “social climb” off FSOG’s publicity. By the way, I have not read the books, but from what I hear, it sounds to me like the character of Christian Grey would be very chivalrous.

  19. Dear Mark, Susan, et al,
    Brilliant. Best to you,

    • blip says:

      Christian Grey is an abusive, controlling, stalker a-hole. Period. And this pairing of films sounds like “freaks versus freaks” or “fanatics versus fanatics”: utterly grotesque, no matter how you slice it.

  20. nguyenmykha says:

    Reblogged this on My Name is MyKha and commented:
    Yessssssssssssssssss. Let’s all go see this! I’mma round up my friends for some single ladies’ fun~ That is, supposing that still applies then. :)

  21. Hopefully the third season of House of Cards will be released that weekend. You know, for the rest of us.

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