The new movie portraying the story of Rachel Joy Scott, the 16-year-old shot and killed by the two boys who carried out the massacre at Columbine High School near Denver in 1999, earned a top-tier 93 percent approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes over its opening weekend, when it also took in nearly $1,800 per screen.
But that doesn’t mean there’s no controversy over the stunning story about Scott.
The producer, Chuck Howard, told the Washington Times over the weekend that he’s still deciding on how to respond to Google’s censorship of the movie’s promotions for nearly a year.
Howard, a longtime music producer who now has launched into making Christian films, revealed he is considering suing Google to “make up for lost advertising” after its YouTube removed his company’s Christian video channel for nearly a year.
“As of yet, we have not filed suit against Google, but are exploring all options,” Howard told the Times. “We’ve missed 11 months’ worth of advertising. They’ve destroyed us from carrying the momentum that we originally had going forward.”
His trailer had collected nearly 5 million views before YouTube pulled the plug last year.
The channel was only reinstated recently after the Hollywood Reporter started asking uncomfortable questions about the move.
Howard told the Times he’s never gotten an explanation of why the censorship was imposed.
The movie, according to Christian Newswire, quickly became “the most popular new film in the country”.
It got a 93 percent rating from audiences, beating out even “The Handmaiden and Moonlight,” both of which were scored by fans at 91 percent.
“Another surprise came in the form of a report from Cinemascore, the company that the film business relies on to track viewer attitudes about movies they’ve just seen. I’m Not Ashamed joined an elite group of films who have received A rating from filmgoers,” the report said.
“I’m thankful for the strong response from the American public,” said Howard. “We have been blown away from the response we’ve received from fans and the strong increase from Friday to Saturday shows us that word of mouth is strong. We are humbled and grateful for this warm reception.”
A number of reviewers also were impressed.
From Metro: “As a portrait of someone grappling with life and fending off loneliness, even thoughts of suicide, ‘I’m Not Ashamed’ is more than expected.”
From Forbes: “It’s compassionate, has a talented actress at its center, and being based on a teenager’s actual journals, captures youthful dialogue better than many.”
AV Club: “Technically, it’s easily the most accomplished Pure Flix film yet.”
The Guardian: “Newcomer Masey McLain … is, undeniably, a terrific, warm and engaging performer … an emotional triumph … the sky is the limit for her.”
Howard told the Times that he’s hired a company to learn why his trailer was pulled for 11 months and to seek compensation for lost advertising.
The movie tells the story of Scott, the first student shot at the Columbine massacre, based on eyewitness statements and her own journals.
A victim who was near Scott during the attack said the attackers shot and killed her after they asked her whether she believed in God, and she said yes.
Howard, who previously worked with Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr., Waylon Jennings and others, said he turned his focus to faith-based films only in the last few years.
“I used to read articles about someone like me that’s griping about this, and I would think, ‘Oh, what a nut.’ But when you become a Christian and you start looking at the world and how it seems like they’re just easing America out of Christianity, it’s just a little bit at a time. And they do it with these behemoth companies that just step on First Amendment rights because we’re Christians. I firmly believe that,” he told the Times.
Here are two additional clips: