Movie glorifying billionaire evangelist fails to fill cinemas
Nada a Perder (Nothing to Lose) is an authorised biopic of Edir Macedo, founder and spiritual leader of The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God worldwide and owner of RecordTV in Brazil – but despite millions of tickets reportedly being sold, the movie is playing to empty cinema seats.
When I saw a Guardian report today that said that one screening played to a completely empty cinema, and another attracted an audience of just three – a mum and her two kids – I went in search of reviews of what is being touted as Brazil’s biggest cinema hit in more than a decade.
Here’s one by Sebastian Butt I found on this site:
Are you a billionaire, megalomaniac who has been stealing money from people by telling them Jesus needs it?
Do you make every situation about yourself and anyone who doubts you out to be a horrible monster?
Does your massive cult have an ‘image problem’?
Have I got a motion picture for you!
And Rio’s O Globo newspaper said:
It leaves the impression that art was less important and the film was made to glorify the protagonist and his religion.
The movie is part-funded and promoted by Record, the television channel that Macedo owns and nearly nine millions tickets have allegedly been sold since it was released (or escaped) in March.
Macedo was briefly jailed in 1992 and was charged along with three other church leaders in 2011 with money laundering, illegally sending money abroad, racketeering, embezzlement and misrepresentation. Macedo has yet to be tried on the money laundering charge, while the other charges have since expired or rejected in court, a spokesman for prosecutors said.
A Bloomberg report from 2013 revealed that
Macedo is 5-foot-6, slight, and 68 years old. He has deformed fingers, a sparse crown of graying hair, and more than five million followers, whose donations over the last 36 years have made him a billionaire.
In Brazil, where he was born and raised, he is a major national figure, the subject of dozens of criminal inquiries, and the owner of Rádio & Televisão Record, a media conglomerate that runs the country’s second-largest television network.
He is known to most everyone by the title he created for himself: He is “The Bishop.” His church specialises in prosperity theology, which links faith to financial success. He preaches twice a week, often in two different cities, and the sermons are fervently watched on church websites, his Facebook page, and the miniature TV sets that Brazilian taxi drivers like to keep on their dashboard.
In an email, a spokesman for the Universal Church described reports that the film was showing to empty cinemas as “a lie” and “fake news” propagated by media with:
A long history of attacks against Universal and the Christian faith.