2 Bible Belt filmmakers expand box office horizons

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — It's the Hollywood ending every studio wants: Low-cost production and high box office returns.

Filmmakers Alex and Stephen Kendrick seem to have the formula down — grossing nearly $80 million on four films made for less than $4 million combined. Only thing is the Kendrick brothers work far from Hollywood and, outside the world of Christian-themed cinema, many have never heard of their films.

That could change.

Major studios appear to be stretching for faith-based audiences with biblical epics such as "Noah" starring Russell Crowe, a planned December release of "Exodus" and a "Ben-Hur" remake in 2016.

In April, four faith-based movies went Top 20, including Sony Pictures' "Heaven Is for Real," a boy's account of visiting heaven that has grossed $99 million-plus worldwide.

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