CINCINNATI - “Why does God let bad things happen to good people?”
Actor, producer, and author Kirk Cameron attempts to answer this question once and for all in his new evangelical documentary, Unstoppable.
The one-night only showing happened at 700 theaters across the country on Sept. 24, broadcast from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. Locally, Newport on the Levee AMC and Cinemark Oakley Station showed the documentary.
And if you're wondering why you never saw trailers for the film on TV, you’re not alone.
Promotion for Unstoppable has been unique. Instead of the usual television campaign, Cameron and his team took a digitally-savvy approach in their marketing efforts, focusing on Facebook , Twitter , YouTube , and a website for the documentary. Cameron also spread the word about the event during a few talk-show appearances and interviews with online publications.
Cameron takes on social media, and wins
The digital-only tactic almost backfired on Cameron when Facebook and YouTube blocked promotion of Unstoppable. On July 18, Cameron took to his Facebook page and alerted his fans that links to the website had been blocked for being “abusive,” “unsafe” and “spammy.”
“Please help us encourage Facebook to unblock our website soon by sharing this post with your friends so more people can see this transparent, faith-building project,” he wrote in a Facebook post. The post received more than 368,000 shares. The very next day, Cameron posted a similar message about YouTube's decision to block his trailer on the video-sharing platform.
Both Facebook and YouTube reversed their bans soon after Cameron’s call to action; but in the meantime, Cameron took to Twitter to set up an account and share the news about his social media ban in 140 characters on July 19. His Twitter account has never been suspended.
Facebook communications manager Michael Kirkland told The Christian Post that “links to the Unstoppable site had been mistakenly identified as spam by Facebook’s malware software.” The address purchased for the movie had previously been used as a spam site, he said, and Facebook’s systems had not yet refreshed it.
Movie-goers fill the seats, in some cases
Despite--or because of--the social controversy surrounding the documentary, fans flocked to theaters and the Internet to order their tickets. According to the Unstoppable Twitter account, many theaters were sold out for the Sept. 24 showing.
Here in the Tri-State, residents were among the fans who flocked to local theaters to see the documentary. Newport on the Levee AMC sold 283 tickets, opening 2 theaters that allowed a combined maximum capacity of 493. Cinemark Oakley station was just eleven tickets shy of selling its 1910-seat showing.
In the trailer for Unstoppable, Cameron vows: “I want to settle once and for all that life is stronger than death, good is stronger than evil and faith is stronger than doubt.”
You can still find out if Cameron delivers on the Unstoppable promise. Tickets for a second showing of the film on Oct. 3 are available online. Rave Cinemas Western Hills 14 and Newport on the Levee AMC will show the documentary.
Did you attend the Sept. 24 showing or plan on heading to the theaters on Oct. 3? Share your experience with me on Twitter, @jennyfromthebak .