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Billionaire Lion

Another successful man is prepared to make a killing off Hollywood's obsession with breasts, violence, and flatulence. This time, it's billionaire Philip Anschutz, the entrepreneur behind Anschutz's Walden Media. AWM is the child-centric division of Anschutz Film Group and the maker of this fall's potential blockbuster: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Who is Anschutz? A private man, for one. And a devout Christian. And a conservative. All this, anyway, according to the May issue of The Atlantic. He's plopping down $150 million on the production of Volume I of Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and has the rights to the next six volumes, too. He says Hollywood doesn't understand the basic principle that a business must make goods and products that people actually want to buy. Mel Gibson showed them, and now Anschutz is prepared to.

He's not shying away from the Christian symbolism of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Even Disney (the distributor) is agreeable to it and has committed to launching "a marketing campaign of religious outreach to coincide with the movie's December release." Disney marketing Christianity? It makes us nervous, but we smile at the potential reaction among the secular press. Ross Douthat, the author of the piece, correctly points out that "some critics will doubtless view acknowledging the Christian themes in Narnia as a violation of some kind of unwritten establishment clause concerning the separation of religion and mass culture."

We're looking forward to this.