So, Heaven Is For Real, a fake book about a kid named Colton Burpo’s drug-induced heaven hallucination and his preacherman father’s capitalization on it, is going to be made into a movie. Hooray! Also, and this is my first question about this movie, huh? This sounds like a bad idea. All I can think of when I think about a whole movie based on one tiny child’s brief sojourn to heaven is some wacky, What Dreams May Come-inspired psychedelic heaven-scape. Apparently, though, Joe Roth and T.D. Jakes saw something more in it, like millions of bucks! From Deadline New York.

Roth tells me he became curious after seeing the book on The New York Times Bestseller Lists about six weeks ago. It reminded him of The Sixth Sense, which he made while running Disney, and he was surprised that nobody in Hollywood had called before he did. This was when the book was moving from a religious imprint to mainstream, and Roth really got in on the ground floor. The book has sold about 4.5 million copies, Roth said, and could do 10 million before the year is out. He’ll meet soon with the Burpo family, and doesn’t really see the movie as something that is limited to a faith-based audience.

So, sure, whatever, a dude saw the name of a book on a list and then decided to fork over a ton of cash to make a movie of that book, presumably before even reading it. That all makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is that they haven’t already cast the part of Colton Burpo. So question two is: Who’s going to play Colton Burpo???

My top choices:
Jonathan Lipnicki circa 1996
Haley Joel Osment circa 1997
Elijah Wood circa 1994

(If anyone can think of any child actors that hit puberty after the release of the original What Dreams May Come [1998, in case you don’t have WDMC’s IMDB page memorized like I do], I could really use your help.)

But what is really, really, really bothering me about this whole thing (besides the obvious duping of people’s legitimate fears about the afterlife and one specific father’s exploitation of his son) is that there isn’t already a witty tag line for the movie poster! So my third and final question is this: What should the tag line for Heaven Is For Real: The Movie be?

My suggestions:
He Was Dead, But Then He Was Alive The Whole Time
There’s Something Wrong With Colton Burpo’s Dad (He’s An Asshole)
Remember What Dreams May Come? Robin Williams Isn’t In This Movie

But I think y’all can do even better than that. There are seriously so many mysteries involved in this, just maybe not the ones they intended. Let’s get down to the real truth. (Thanks for the tip, Maria!)

Comments (60)
  1. Gosselin and Heene give it two thumbs up!

  2. In Heaven Spider Man Is Your Best Friend

  3. And clearly obnoxious kid from the Blind Side should play him, I checked imdb and that’s his actual name

  4. Macaulay Culkin circa Uncle Buck

  5. Are we sure this is Superglue because it kind of reads like a “Booger” Bradley piece.

  6. This all seems much more like proof that hell is for real.

  7. Heaven is for Real: The Movie
    “Like David after Dentist, but a movie. About Heaven”. Starring baby Aaron from LOST circa 2021.

  8. “Then Optimus Prime and I rode the tyrannosaurus rex to the top of the volcano and…”

    “Wait… Didn’t you see Jesus, or God, or St. Peter, or anybody like that in heaven?”

    “Yeah, like I said, Optimus Prime and I rode the tyrannosaurus rex…”

  9. “Whoever finds out heaven is real, we lose.”

  10. Heaven is for Real: The Movie

    “Unbearable pain and fear of death will do incredible things to a person. Join us in that pain, coming summer 2011.”

  11. Heaven is For Real: The Movie
    “Dad, I’m Tired of having to go on all these talk shows and tell them those things you told me to say”

  12. I think we need to make this movie more adorable. Drew Barrymore from ET will now play Colleen Burton. (really, Burpo? not gonna fly) Instead of dying, she’ll just dream heaven, and instead of being a creepy money-grubber we’ll have the father be worried about his daughter as she tries to spread her gospel. (parents played by Brenden Fraser and Cameron Diaz)

    For conflict we’ll have a greedy television producer looking to cash in on the story. (and he’s an atheist too!) I’m thinking Kevin Kline with assistant Leighton Meester in character as Blair Waldorf.

    • Drew Barrymore is still adorable, but as a 36 year old woman I have a crush on, not as a 3 year old who I do not have a crush on since that would be gross

  13. First, change the name to “Heaven is For RealD”. Next, market it as an on-rails thrill ride through heaven, with ANGELS and HARPISTS and GRANDMA flying towards you in Real 3D. The tagline is “Heaven is Comin’ Atcha!” and get McDonalds to sponsor some merchandising tie-ins, like Hot Wheels Heaven Cars and Super Hot Angel Barbie, PhD (because, feminism). I guess you could keep the kid in it, if he just kind of hovers around the bottom corner of the screen and reacts to all the shit flying towards us.

    “Whoa cool, they have POGS in heaven!”

    • i am sad i can only upvote your comment once. god is dead. or something.

    • this is perfect. they should also get some co-branding going on with “Paradise Lost” starring Bradley Cooper – make people think these two movies are part of a franchise. the third movie in the series can be the inevitable (and inevitably terrible) Dante’s “Inferno” movie that’ll probably come out in summer, 2013.

  14. The tagline for this movie is obviously THIS GIF:

    YOU’RE WELCOME, HOLLYWOOD.

  15. This Ain’t Your Dad’s Heaven!


    It’s Colton’s Dad’s Heaven, And You’re All Falling For It.

  16. “Admission is free, because the important thing is that we get the word out.”

  17. If the movie was called, “Hell Is For Real: A Little Boy’s Terrifying Adventure Of His Trip To Hell And Back”
    – Rated R
    …I’d have already pre-purchased my ticket.

  18. How about,

    “Heaven Is For Real: Shit Just Got Real, and by ‘Shit,’ I Mean ‘Heaven,’ and Feel Free to Draw Your Own Conclusions About That.”

  19. If I wanted to watch drugged up children, I’d wait for the next Juggalo video-recap, thank you very much.

    • Disclaimer at the end of the movie:
      Remember kids drugs are bad, if you take them you get to see your grandpa, God, Jesus and all kinds of famous people.

  20. Heaven is For Real: Heavens Will Realise

  21. Heaven is For Real: The Movie

    “Haha….Burpo”

  22. “This is the America we’re fighting for”

  23. I think we should all get jobs as movie projector people and, instead of this movie, show the really messed up animal-human hybrid scenes from the scary parts of The Hunger Games (as directed by Guillermo del Toro and Terry Gillam specifically for this purpose).

  24. Willing Suspension Of Your Belief System

  25. The tag line for the poster should be “We Rest Our Case.”

    Colton Burpo should be played by Elle Fanning.

  26. I saw this book in the store a few days ago and knowing nothing about it other than what could be gleaned from the title and front cover, I was immediately offended. I turned the book around so the front cover was facing away from me. I used to work at a video store where people would do this all the time as a sort of “punishment” to the movies they thought were too wicked or liberal to exist.

    I couldn’t believe I was doing it myself, but something inside of me just said “No, I refuse to accept this. Get this out of my sight.” I did it before I even knew what I was doing. It was purely instinctual.

    Too bad it didn’t work. This book still exists and the movie soon will too. So I don’t care what tagline they give the movie because I won’t see it with the DVD cover turned around anyway.

  27. If Heavy Is For Real at least I can rest good in knowing that Todd Burpo will never see it. Aren’t exploitation of children and religious iconography kind of, y’know, bad?

  28. I know who will get the part. That blonde mop-haired kid from the kar kommercial where he’s too kool for skhool? That kid. I predict that he will be everywhere and soon. You can tell I don’t like him… he makes me feel so uncool.

  29. “If you didn’t believe in heaven before you saw this movie then you probably won’t ever see it.”

  30. After reading Heaven is for real, I too am a believer. This book has somewhat changed my life as well as many others. So to go ahead and squash it like a bug without reading it, and without any hint factuality behind the words you typed is outrageous. It mystifies me the amount of idiots (who also probably did not read the book) are backing you up.
    Here is my advise to you: You and all of your followers should read it. Then you can go ahead and say whatever you want about it. But i guarantee, if you actually read the book, you will find it to enlighten you too.

    Happy reading; idiots.

    • First of all I believe in Heaven, God and Jesus. Secondly, please don’t call people idiots because they disagree or have a different opinion.
      My problem is they way they slowly received the info from the young man. I know he was young but there were opportunities to ask a little bit more when a subject was brought up without overwhelming him at an early age…not a new paragraph or two in the book on each incident. Money seemed to be a issue and having another business including being a pastor makes me wonder too. We lost our 16 year old daughter last year and they let you know they are OK.
      At age 5 you can have an in-depth conversation with a child without upsetting or boring them. I would of at least asked who else he seen in heaven the first day.
      I wish them all well and never did a follow-up on them. It would be nice to know it was all true…maybe not the battling with demons part which according to the young boy would be in his fathers (our) day.

  31. I would also like to add a reply to the thought that the father was telling the kid what to say for the money that would be made. This cannot possibly be true because of the fact that there is no sure way to tell that the book would be a giant hit. According to the book, the family was not doing too great money – wise, and believe it or not, it costs money to publish a book – lots of it.
    In publishing this book, I’m sure that the father was hoping it would be a huge success, but not for the money, but for the people who will be forever sure that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

  32. The book is real, not fake. Superstition has no place when it comes to a childs testimony.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post, reply to, or rate a comment.