In the past year — and certainly since Mel Gibson’s uber-successful 2004 movie The Passion of the Christ – Christian cinema has exploded.Five of the 10 highest-grossing Christian films since 1980 were released in the past 12 months, including The Nativity Story, which earned more than $8 million in its opening weekend in December.

The success is not without criticism, as some say the Christian films don’t touch the controversial sides of the religion.

Still, the surge of support for Christian cinema has prompted major movie studios to create departments focusing on movies for the demographic – such as 20th Century Fox’s FoxFaith division, which released the successful movie End of the Spear and most recently Thr3e.

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