'Justin Bieber: Never Say Never': Will Paramount's Christian outreach program get young men to see it?

Justin-Bieber-Never-Say-NeverImage Credit: Paramount PicturesJustin Bieber: Never Say Never hits theaters this weekend, and, God willing, could be the topic of many conversations come Sunday — at least that’s what Paramount, the studio behind the 3-D documentary’s release, is hoping. Paramount has held 20 screenings in 20 markets at the end of January for Christian leaders, some of whom then offered written endorsements, arranged group ticket sales for their fellowship, or requested a copy of the study guide produced for the movie titled “Never Say Never: For Nothing Is Impossible With God.” 

Execs recognized that the film’s message of hope and Bieber’s strong Christian beliefs, about which both he and his mother Pattie Mallette have spoken extensively, were an opportunity to reach out to the faith community. The study guide is a collaboration between Bieber’s mother and Allied Faith & Family, an arm of Allied Integrated Marketing. It’s the first time Paramount has worked with Allied to supplement its general publicity, but not the first time the studio has had a faith-based element to a movie campaign. (The studio had faith-based outreach programs for the documentaries Waiting for “Superman” and An Inconvenient Truth and the adaptation of The Kite Runner.) Indeed, marketing to Christian groups became quite popular post-The Passion of the Christ; like secular marketing campaigns, it’s about making sure people who may not think a film has something for them see that it does — like Bieber’s pre-performance ritual that includes a prayer introduced to him by his Jewish manager, or Bieber and his friends saying grace at a pizza parlor.

So how effective will Paramount’s efforts be for this film? The study guide made its way into the inbox of Sean Meade, who serves as the National Network of Youth Ministries‘ national coordinator for middle school groups and also runs an organization called Stuck in the Middle, which holds events for middle school-aged students in the U.S. and Canada and does training for youth pastors. “Big picture, I know a lot of people are planning to use this movie within their ministry,” he tells EW. “I work specifically with middle school students and with youth pastors who focus on that age group, and if you have middle school girls in your group, they’re gonna go see the Justin Bieber movie, and they’re gonna be talking about it, and those themes are something that really resonates with that early adolescent age. Youth pastors want to be talkin’ about this with their kids.”

That said, Meade doesn’t exactly see the guide itself coming in handy with what one would assume would be the target demo. “It starts off with an introduction from Justin’s mom talking about his faith, which is awesome. But then the very first theme is ‘Discerning God’s Plan for Your Life’ and it goes into what I call Christianese, where it’s Christian language that unless you’ve been born and raised in the church, you have no idea what ‘separating the wheat from the chaff’ or ‘the lures of the flesh from the operations of the spirit’ means,” he says. “If I start talking like that to my 8th grade guys group, they’re gonna think I’m crazy.”

But while he thinks the application is “a little cheesy,” he believes the lesson is solid. “Overall, it helps to understand that Justin’s a kid who worked hard and did his best, and you can do those same things and help discern what maybe God wants you to do with your life. You’ve got a kid who’s had, I’m sure, every opportunity to just go crazy and live out any kind of teenage fantasy that he’s ever wanted to, and yet seems to be very grounded and not only just a good kid, but seems to make a lot of wise choices. I watched Diddy last night on [Jimmy Kimmel Live!], and the guy looked teary-eyed talking about Justin and the themes of the movie. And he actually said that Justin had a God-ordained talent. I thought Man, if you’ve got Diddy talking about your God-ordained talent and what a good kid you are, you gotta be doing something right.”

Diddy made a plea to Kimmel’s viewers to see the film as a human success story, one that appeals to all ages and both sexes. “I think it’s definitely a hard sell for young boys,” Meade says. “My home church weekend activity tonight has like 150 junior highers coming together. I threw it out to my 8th grade guys, half joking, ‘Are we gonna go see the Bieber movie tonight after the event?’ They’re just one, so tired of hearing about Bieber from all the girls. But two, I think there’s a macho element of ‘I’m a guy. I can’t go to the Justin Bieber movie.’ Except for the couple of wise ones who’ve figured out that all the girls will be at the Justin Bieber movie, and they’re excited,” Meade says. “But that’s a whole different story.”

Read more:
Owen Gleiberman reviews Justin Bieber: Never Say Never
Box office preview: Justin Bieber and Adam Sandler duel for pop-culture supremacy

Comments (352 total) Add your comment
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  • Erica

    i love justin bieber he is so cute

    • Dominic

      Yeah, it’s great that a young lesbian can break stereotypes by professing how important her Christian faith is to her.

      • Alice

        you know what? stfu. you haters are just jealous that he is making more money than you will ever make, getting more girls than you will ever get, receiving more attention you will ever receive, and most importantly being more SUCCESSFUL than you will EVER be! so yeah if you have nothing nice to say, then just don’t say it, you fool.

      • David

        @Alice – Gotta love the idea of a young man using his strong Christian values to score all that tail.

      • Matt

        The fact that you think calling someone the opposite sex that they are and a lesbian is an insult shows how much people should respect you: not at all.

      • Jane

        Yeah, I’m kinda jealous that a 12 year old makes more money than I do. On the other hand, I didn’t know he was a person of faith. Good for him speaking not hiding it. This actually makes me like him. Still, I wish he’d get rid of the bangs.

      • Tom

        @Jane

        He’s not religious. By any stretch of the imagination. Religion has been downgraded to a marketing tool. How can they keep tweens, endorse squeeky clean image and encourage the faithful to listen? Make him religious.

      • mom

        Dominic do you think by calling a guy a girl is really mature? You need to take a good look at yourself and ask why you need to why you feel you need to say cruel things about someone to make yourself feel better, you must have a sad life.I loved the movie and i’m 36.

      • Dominic

        you’re not my real mom

      • Dominic

        You’re not the real Dominic.

      • Ian

        @ Alice – Absolutely. I hate it when someone with absolutely zero musical talent makes that much more money then me. I have no problem with admitting that I’m jealous when hacks like this kid and his management and producers all get rich off of massive amounts of babysitting money and money from flavor-of-the-month worshipping adults with zero taste in real music.

      • Billy

        Alice is now the blog czar. She decides what you can and cannot say on here, so get her approval before you post, please. Bieber sucks, was not approved, but I just had to post it anyways. Bieber sucks! Twice.

      • Jennifer Heather

        LOL you’re funny dude…. Friend me on Facebook.

      • Jered

        @Alice – Just because you have a huge crush on a marketing brand, doesn’t mean you spout such negative crap.

        And for those attaching Dominic, do you live under a rock? The lesbian jokes regarding Bieber are all over the media… he’s just getting in on it for a good laugh… and I laughed. Quite whining and crying – get a sense of humor. Life is too short.

      • CoolGayDad

        I wonder how his mommy is gonna react when he comes out of the closet? Will his girlie fans bail on him? Must be sad to be so intellectually inferior that you have to believe in some invisible magic monster in the sky in order to get through life and justify your hatred and intolerance of others. Show my a christian, I’ll show you a bigot.

      • Chris

        @alice, you must be a teen, because you honestly believe someone would be jealous. The reality is he is just a marketing tool, unfortunately your to young to understand it. You will on day look back on all of this and see that. This game has been going on since the early days of radio. I do not envy him in the least. I pity him, he is as good as he will ever be. If he is lucky in 20 years you may see him on some show like World Dumbest, as a host. So you see Alice nobody is really Jealousy, those of us old enough know exactly how the story goes, and it’s a sad one.

      • Allison

        CoolGayDad– Agreed. With everything you said. PS: love you.

      • Tom

        Really Alice? Really? Seriously?
        Are you saying that your “god” wants Justin Bieber to “get” all those girls, in clear contravention of the christian notions of purity and marriage?

      • Trey

        Allison, oh yeah I am real jealous that he makes more money than I do. In a few years when he is is dust in the wind, I will still be earning my money and he will have disappeared like Hanson. Also, he can get more women than we can get? If your idea of women are 12 year old girls he can keep that.

      • Mary

        CoolGayDad-You don’t sound very cool. Just by your post alone sounds like your quite judgemental and close minded. Where is the love?

      • Jennifer

        Sorry but Bieber is totally using faith to get tail. Any man can spot that a mile away, and women 10 miles away. If he seriously believes that he should be the voice of gods love to young men, well you just have to make up your own mind.

      • Larry

        Boy, are there ever some spiteful, nasty-ass losers on this site. Do you realize you’re trashing a 16 year old boy. My 11 year old son loves Justin Bieber. Before that, he’d only listen to hip-hop where every second word was either an obscenity or a degrading reference to sexual activity. I much prefer his listening to the Bieber-man. In spite of the snipes here, his songs are catchy and well-sung. No, he’s not James Taylor; he’s a teeny-bopper star. We’ve always had them. What are you haters expecting? As far as the faith-based movie, why should I care? If he’s not trashing anyone else, how does that concern me?

      • Color Me Impressed

        Wow @CoolGayDad: I think you’re the one showing intolerance here.

      • Eric

        I’m so sick of Bieber. He’s a joke and the Joke was funny I’m also glad that a young Lesbian and assert her christian beliefs.The message should be to think for yourself. the more you Sheeple preach the less people listen. Look at Prince he was fine as long as he was spiritual. and then he ruined his career getting all preachy.

      • Lyle

        This really just made my day

      • Dominic

        I’m so confused at the hate directed against me here. Is this ‘Justin Bieber’ not a 22 year old lesbian woman? Wow. Then how do you explain the hair?

        (real Dominic here – author of original comment but nothing else until this)

      • Jimmy Sage

        What the bloody hell happened to teens listening to Led Zeppelin, or at least the Beatles? For eff’s sake, This isn’t music! This is trash. It’s just him saying the same damn words over and over, and failing at attempting to rap.

      • Color Me Impressed

        I’m with you @Jimmy Sage (nice name by the way Mr. Zoso); I’ve always been more of a fan of underground music, both past and present, but at least mainstream music back in the day-The Beatles, Zeppelin, The Who-had substance. They were’nt just trying to sell more singles on i-Tunes, they were trying to make good music and have fun with it. Artists used to hate when other people interfered with their “vision”. Now everyone’s begging their labels to package them up and sell them like Snickers bars.

    • judas

      Well, since all things Bieber make me want to kill myself, and suicide is a sin – not sure about the Christian message here. And, I can’t believe the balls of Bieber and his army now trying to go faith-based, give me a freakin’ break. They will stop at nothing to get as many people to see this stupid movie as possible. People are so naive and easily swayed.

      • Phil

        Its already disturbing enough that movie companies have been littering the multiplexes with ‘concert based films’ the last few years with Miley & the Jonas Brothers and now Bieber to score loads of money Valentine’s Day weekend from kids with disposable income, while all the adults are out spending money at fancy dinners and such. But to then go so far as say, oh Bieber’s mom is some Christian with over 250,000 Twitter followers…Well look, without knowing much about the Canadian, I dont really care what this faith based message is, cause lets be honest, if there was some positive message, would his mom & dad still be toegther, working it out for their son!? People are so stupid and only hear what they want to hear, and read what they want to read these days. I’m not knocking faith, but any TRUE person who believes in faith, would agree with what I just said about working things out for the sake of family, instead of splitting up. SO yeah, I dont need to see the movie to know this Faith push is a ridiculous load of Canadian Bacon !

      • wooooo party yeah

        “I’m not knocking faith, but any TRUE person who believes in faith, would agree with what I just said about working things out for the sake of family, instead of splitting up.”

        So if your spouse is unfaithful, abusive, or has made it plain as day that he/she no longer wants to be with you, stay with them no matter for the sake of the kids no matter how unhappy you are, because kids can’t sense tension between their parents when they’re unhappy, right? You know JACK SQUAT about faith, Phil!

      • wooooo party yeah

        * no matter what.

      • Tom

        Don’t kill yourself, burn the CDs! God hates Justin Bieber.

      • Nonaya

        @Phil…you’re right, you don’t know much about…much.

      • talent

        its funny how concert films would show how awesome the artist were. I mean think about it, bieber compared to the bands last waltz its like, I feel closer to god watching that then i would a beiber flic.

      • Satan

        Hhahah, christina values my @ss. He rents a lamborghini for his BD. He’s getting more tail than most gays here. The christian message: get money and buy anything and anybody!

    • Color Me Impressed

      Oh wow, just reading some of the comments below makes me want to laugh! They all sound like something my girlfriend’s younger sisters would write!

      • a

        i was born this way

      • Josh

        back to the whole thing that God hates justin bieber, not true dont put words in his mouth

      • Josh

        this message was for tom earlier

    • Sia

      I wish the Justin Bieber fans knew how to spell and write complete sentences. All their comments on message boards are RIDICULOUS and so immature but what did I expect from 9 year olds ?
      And he’s probably a good kid but it will die out these teeny pop boys always fade.
      I wonder who will be next ?

      • Amy

        Justin Timberlake didnt fade until recently. and whenever this kid does fade out, i’m sure he’ll have so much money he wont care.

      • SJ

        Justin Timberlake faded?? Did you forget he was in The Social Network, several SNL parodies and appearances, has his own fashion line and hosted ESPY awards? The only thing he faded from was boy band music.

    • Color Me Impressed

      Also, EW…you’re still ignoring the new Strokes single, what the f*ck?!

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    • DeeCee1000

      I’ll give him a few more years before we see the first of many drunken mugshots splashed across all the tabloids.

  • Erica

    i love justin bieber so much

    • Anthony

      Me too. He’s so hot!

    • acts431

      Be wary of celebrities or public figures expressing their “faith”. Most times it is simply a ploy to make money, get votes or otherwise improve their fan base. Look for red flags like your mother telling people about YOUR faith. If it is genuinely YOUR faith, YOU tell it!

  • Steve Jacob

    Jonas Bros. flamed out quick, I’d expect the same for Bieber. But for a couple of years, he will do well.

    • Julia

      he will do well, what r u saying?!?

    • Jaysun

      Was that a gay joke?

  • Julia

    Justin, u rock. u r such a good role model to ur fans!! u rock and ur cute too

    • Athiest

      Justin bieber wastes his time worshipping something that doesnt exist

      • Jake Slater

        LOL that you cannot even spell “atheist” right.

      • Former Atheist

        If you don’t believe in God it is actually impossible to know or understand God. Actually, that statement probably can’t be understood either. I am not being rude, just speaking from experience since I used to be an atheist too. It takes a lot for this kid to stand up and say he is a Christian since it is now politically correct to be mean to Christians (especially on CNN.com). He will be held to a higher standard and people will tear him down every chance they get. When he messes up (and he will, we are all human), they will question his faith and call him a hypocrite. I have never heard his music and don’t care too but I just hope that he represents the Lord well in anything he does since he claims to be a Christian.

      • Matt

        How did you go from being an Atheist to a Theist? I always thought when you realize how ridiculous religion is, there’s no turning back.

        Why do you feel it’s brave to express your belief? the vast majority of people in this country are Christian, there is nothing noble about it.

      • artzyme

        I have two comments… 1.Because some of us may not prefer to listen to Justin’s music, doesn’t make him untalented. Furthermore, because we cannot see into Justin’s soul, doesn’t mean that he does not have a relationship with God. That is not for us to judge. Time will tell… As for the partnership between Paramount and Allied Faith & Family, time will tell on that too. The “outreach” associated with Waiting for “Superman” makes me skeptical. That film completely ripped on the profession of teaching especially those in public education. It’s difficult for me to see that as a film with Christian themes. I am a teacher in a public school and a Christian, I strive to teach my students to work hard and earn their grades honestly. I hope that they see Christ in me as I strive to help them achieve their best.

        and 2. Atheist, What if you’re wrong that God doesn’t exist? Are you willing to stake your place in eterntity? God does exist. His Son, Jesus Christ, died for my sin and yours so that we could be reconciled to God. Test Him and see. I challenge you to prove that God does not exist.

      • Former Theist

        artzyme,
        What if YOU’RE wrong and when you die you meet Shiva the Destroyer? Want to stake your place in eternity then?

        I challenge you to prove that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.

      • Another Atheist

        artzyme – anyone who has ever genuinely been an atheist would know how specious your *arguments* are.

        You ask: “Atheist, What if you’re wrong that God doesn’t exist? Are you willing to stake your place in eterntity?”

        As Former Theist illustrated, an atheist simply believe in one less god than you do. Why don’t you believe in Zeus?

        You say: “I challenge you to prove that God does not exist.”

        I challenge you to prove the invisible unicorn does not exist. In other words, IF you had ever been an atheist, you would have heard this *challenge* ad nauseum, too. And you would know that it is a philisophical failure on your part to demand that someone “prove” your god’s non-existance. Your god – your burden to prove him.

      • Terry

        To Athiest and CoolGayDad (NOT). You say Justin wastes his time on whatever. Its HIS time, not yours or anyone else’s, so get your own life and stop watching what others do with their lives. I really hate when people do that.

      • MikeB

        @ Former Atheist – Whatever pal. I’m so tired of the biggest b.s. story around. That it’s p.c. to pick on Christians. You guys have been running the show ins the late 70′s. And you still think everyone picks on you. Wah Wah!! As for Beiber. I can’t wait for the Syfy original movie he’ll star in one of these days when he goes the way of Tiffany and Debbie Gibson.

  • Chris

    I can’t complain about Beiber. When I was a teen I was all about Ace of Base. Looking back now I feel foolish. But I sure enjoyed them back then. Enjoy them now while you can because in a few years you will all move on to more mature music (hopefully) and the next pop sensation will come on the scene.

    • Jenn

      I agree. My parents probably shook their heads at some of the things I was listening to when I was a teen. Let the kids have their fun while it last.

    • meg

      Yeah , that’s exactly what I think . I don’t like Bieber but I can understand why teen girls do because I can remember my Backstreet Boys days.

    • Beatrice

      I agree with what you’re saying 100%. I like Justin Bieber, but I honestly don’t think it will last. The next pop sensation will come and take his place and my taste in music will have changed by then.

    • Ben

      Had you saw a sign?

      • Ace

        Ace of bass was cool, But you see the problem with beiber and the boys were that someone was TELLING THEM WHAT TO SAY AND DO. I implore you to show me writing credits or how they
        picked the musicians to play on their album. He might as well have the pope on stage with him and have a concert every sunday. h

  • jt

    Oh, Lord.

  • Elece

    i love justin beiber so so so so so so so much i want to be his one less lonely girl

    • Michelle

      Elece, sorry but you will always be a lonely girl.

      • jodipo

        and you Michelle, will always be a b*^ch

      • sat

        Michelle, at least you got Bubba.

      • Jered

        I’m with you Michelle… these little girls need to realize that Bieber is an unattainable marketing ploy just to take their hard-earned allowance money.

    • asrael

      You love him so much you can’t spell his name…?

  • Robin Pearson

    I like your music and i would one day could meet you and i been wish that you could sing to me on my 13th birthday which is on Jan.1st.

    • Erin

      At the age of 12, Robin, you should be able to make a coherent sentence.
      Doesn’t say much about your taste in music.

      • SteverB

        And at the age of whatever, Erin, you should know better than to go after a 12 year old like that. What’s SO wrong in your life that you felt the best use of your time was to do that? Get some humanity!

      • jp

        The pathetic grammar police at work.

      • Laura

        I’m with Erin on this one. She needs to learn to write. That was one terribly constructed sentence and a12 year old should be able to write much better than that. No excuses.

      • Ha

        Please bully a little girl more. Because its really mature and cool to do. Y’know, to make them cry and overreact. Douche.

      • Brad Adien

        Erin, are you capable of showing a correlation between taste in music and the ability to constuct a grammatically correct sentence? If not, then your post doesn’t say much for your supposed intelligence. IOW, your’e a stupid b***h.

      • Color Me Impressed

        As much as I despise the Justin Beiber hype-machine, you guys need to stop laying into 12 year old girls. Sure they have poor taste in music, but they’re just kids, don’t be such a$$holes…

  • Lame

    you lame bieber

    • August

      hey lamo! get yourself a name cause your lame name isn’t a name. LAME.

      • Erin

        Can none of the Bieber fans spell or type grammatically correct sentences. August, your should be you’re.
        It makes me sad that one day all of these children will be adults and still type out lmao, lol, etc. Sigh.

      • asdf

        Erin you’re an idiot…August used “your” appropriately. “You’re” = You are. As for the end of your sentence, it is not even discernible.

      • ghost

        asdf August’s use of ‘your’ was indeed wrong. Read the sentence again.

        Who’s the idiot again?

      • get a life

        In fact asdf was correct. ‘your’ was the correct use. He said “your lame name” meaning the lame name that belonged to him, not you are lame name. So ghost, you’re the idiot.

    • Beatrice

      Lame, do you read what you are saying? Stop being a dumbass. Really, you’re making a fool of yourself.

  • shadi

    i love so so so so justin bieber

  • Sophia

    ILOVEJUSTINBIEBER ppl think he is a famous hottie and all but what i think he is a normal fun guy that just wants to live his dream ! ILOVEU

  • Aaron

    Can adults contract Bieber fever?

    • Sia

      Justin’s fanbase is mostly little girls. The older ones are still Jonas Brothers fans.

    • Lizzie

      I’m 19 and I’ve been on medication (Glee and everything else better than Bieber) to prevent it from happening. But with the new episodes having two of his songs in it this coming Tuesday, I might have some slight symptoms, but maybe that’s because Chord Overstreet sings it better and not as whiny as Bieber himself.

  • brittney

    yes, and I have. I couldn’t stand all the posters in my girls rooms…until I saw the movie today. Then I stole one and hung it on my wall. He’s a good kid. and cute! I’m ok with the hair now. kindof Beatle ish

    • Chris

      Take it easy or you’ll be ordered to stay 20 feet from all children.

      • ds

        this

      • Satan

        Hhahah, are you a teacher in High School?

    • Tia

      So you’re ok with Justin now that he and his mommy have decided to hop on the Christian wagon to make more money off teens and get more tail from little girls?

      • Elisa

        Funny thing is the little girls that give him more tail because of his faith are likely the same girls who’ll grab the rosary and say a few hail mary’s to make the sperm do a u-turn.

        Save up those $’s Bieber, child support is going to be a b*tch.

    • The Real Tom Paine

      While I am cynical, my wife ( who is agnostic) has a good impression of him now that she went to see the movie with our daughter. She saw no overt Christian message in the movie, except that he prays, which makes him no different from Dog the Bounty Hunster. Hopefully he won’t swear as much as Dog does. If he is a good role model, who cares what/if he believes? Its a huge leap to say he’s going to get “…more tail from little girls”, as a result of this movie.

  • Summer Bay

    You all need to be in a padded cell & wearing a straight jacket.

    • Chrissy

      You said a “mouthful”

  • dee123

    That’s taking it a bit far but yeah, they’re crazy.

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