Throughout the globe, news media outlets broadcasted the horrifying rescue of the young soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. While viewers following the story feared the worst, Hollywood movie producers already began considering how they could profit off the ordeal before the children and their coach were even rescued.
Unfortunately, this only further demonstrates how the media, including the entertainment sector, is willing to exploit children and other victims for the sake of generating revenue. Even worse, the production company, which considers itself faith-based, is claiming that creating the film in the given timing is admirable. Unsurprisingly, the response has been less than positive as many wonder what is wrong with the business’ ethics.
The ordeal occurred over 18 excruciating days in June and July in Chiang Rai, Thailand at the Tham Luang caves. On June 23, the coach of a soccer team consisting of twelve underage boys, ages 11 to 16, took it upon himself to lead his team into the series of caves without the boys’ parents’ permission.
However, the unplanned expedition turned into a near-tragedy when the thirteen individuals became trapped in the series of caves due to “rising flood waters,” requiring an international rescue mission to be conducted.
Devastatingly, a U.S. Navy SEAL, Saman Kunont, died in the life-saving efforts. Thankfully, however, the team and coach were all finally rescued on July 10, as responders retrieved them from the caves several at a time.
While the efforts were successful in saving the children, the loss of the Navy SEAL’s life is tragic and could have been avoided had the coach not embarked on the adventure.
Yet before the team had even been rescued, a movie production company, Pure Flix, based out of Los Angeles, California and Scottsdale, Arizona, began filming near the caves. The project already has a title: Thai Cave Rescue Movie and is said to be released sometime in 2019.
Such greediness while a dozen children remained in a dangerous situation would be unsurprising on behalf of an otherwise liberal organization. However, the associated production company claims to be a Christian organization which often produces positive, religious-based content. Its most successful film, God’s Not Dead, was released in 2014 and grossed over $70 million.
Interestingly though, Pure Flix CEO Michael Scott noted that this particular project will not be religious in nature but is instead said to reflect “the bravery and heroism” of all those involved, including the children. Scott continued to call the events ‘inspiring,’ again, before the boys had been confirmed safe.
Such a goal is arguably less humble than simply telling the story which only later proved to have a mostly happy ending.
Of course, other Hollywood producers were surely considering the project but had the decency to at least wait until the drama subsided.
Not Pure Flix, however. Scott, along with co-producer, Adam Smith, were reportedly “conducting preliminary interviews around the Tham Luang cave site” where parents were anxiously waiting to see if they would ever see their children again alive.
Even now, the boys are still recovering from the ordeal, as they were all sent to the hospital following it.
Given the negative response, the production company is unsurprisingly defending its insensitive timing, claiming that had they not begun filming immediately, another company would have surely taken advantage of the opportunity.
Scott continued to excuse the project, saying that the team is “not pressing people over the interviews.”
Yet regardless of when the future footage is filmed or when interviews or conducted, those condemning the project’s quick timing noted that it would never be able to capture the near-devastation of the event.
Such is the case with any story based on a tragedy, yet also explains why it is both unnecessary and inappropriate to begin filming immediately.
However, Scott’s team continually failed to show remorse as he said of the story: “It’s got incredible heart, incredible acts of heroism and bravery. It’s just an incredible thing and we think it will inspire millions around the world.”
Sure, the entire world has recently received a heavy reminder not to explore unknown terrain without a guide and to obviously not do such if it endangers children.
However, the film’s terrible timing more boldly illustrates American greed.
The U.S. admirably stepped in to join the rescue mission, but that does not give any film production company the right to claim it in the immediate aftermath.
Thankfully, that was not the outcome, which had the rest of the world cheering for the team. However, for those on behalf of Pure Flix, it was just another story to profit from.