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‘Courageous’ makes debut

Garrett Tukes, left, buys a ticket from box office cashier Bridget Williams for the premiere showing of Sherwood’s “Courageous” Friday afternoon at Wynnsong Theater.

Garrett Tukes, left, buys a ticket from box office cashier Bridget Williams for the premiere showing of Sherwood’s “Courageous” Friday afternoon at Wynnsong Theater.

ALBANY, Ga. — After months of anticipation, the fourth film made by Sherwood Pictures has now been made public.

And it was a big hit in the Good Life City.

Sherwood’s “Courageous” officially opened in Albany at noon on Friday, one of many towns it was scheduled to premiere in that day throughout the United States and Canada.

Allison Douglas, who was at the noon showing, found it difficult to hold back tears as she was talking to an The Albany Herald reporter following the movie about what she thought of the film.

“It was wonderful,” she said. “If there were more men that took their role as fathers that seriously, our children would be much better off.

“I’m a teacher, and I see so many young people that don’t have that in their lives.”

The story of “Courageous” centers around law enforcement officers Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, David Thomson and Shane Fuller. They give their best on the job, but good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads — and they discover that their standard is missing the mark.

When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith and their fathering.

The first Albany showing actually took place at 9:30 a.m. Friday, which was exclusively for the upper campus students of Sherwood Christian Academy.

“It went well,” said SCA Headmaster Glen Schultz following the show. “The kids got excited about seeing their classmates in the movie.

“You could hear sniffles in the theater. They were engaged in the message. It’s a message young people need to hear. I hope it goes out and has an impact on the nation.”

Alex Kendrick, a pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church who played Adam Mitchell in — and also directed —”Courageous,” briefly spoke to the SCA students following the morning showing.

On Thursday, TriStar Pictures and Sherwood Pictures announced that “Courageous” had made more than $2 million in pre-sales — more than double of “Fireproof,” its most recent predecessor.

Steve Cox and Leigh Cox, who were at the Albany Carmike Wynnsong 16 as the first showing was taking place, are members of Sherwood. They had plans to attend a showing later in the day.

“There are so few movies out there that do justice to what families should be,” said Steve Cox, who worked on the movie as a set construction coordinator. “(The film) is convicting on a level (for people to realize) they are not holding up their own as dads.”

Leigh Cox shared her husband’s enthusiasm about the movie’s message.

“That is what people will get out of this,” she said. “It will also show children to let their dads be what they are supposed to be.”

After its opening on Friday, officials at Wynnsong 16 added five more showtimes that were only effective for that day. This brought the total number of showings of “Courageous” in Albany to 13 on the day of its release — at least two of which ended up selling out.

As the showings concluded, Sherwood volunteers could be seen passing out discussion guides for the movie.

Also there to see the noon showing were Garrett Tukes and his wife, Cherri Tukes.

“From the preview, it looked like it would be exciting,” Cherri Tukes said as she was going into the theater. “It was filmed in Albany, and I’ve seen the other films Sherwood has made.”

Going into the film’s showing, they seemed hopeful it would live up to the reputation of the three other Sherwood movies.

“I would hope to experience the same (as I did with) the last one, to just enjoy it,” Garrett Tukes said. “They (the Sherwood films) remind of you of all the things you have.”

Coming out of the first public showing, Mary Nell Hall said the movie’s message was a powerful one.

“If that film gets around much, and people heed the message, it will solve a lot of people’s problems,” she said. “The message is true. A lot of problems of society (are because of bad) fathers.

“That’s the case with both parents, but especially fathers.”

The film is rated PG-13 for some violence and drug content. The other films that have been produced by Sherwood are “Flywheel,” “Facing the Giants” and “Fireproof.” “Fireproof,” released in 2008, went on to gross over $33 million at the box office.