Narnia–News Sample

narnia-j7Narnia: Sample News Articles

The following articles about the first Narnia film are from my book: Successful Writing for the Real World. They served as examples in my chapters about news writing. I’ve posted them here to supplement my Movie Study Guide for the Narnia films. In my book, these articles also have related vocabulary lists and exercises. Line numbers were added to make them easier to use in class.

17.2d. News article


  • Narnia fans put fantasy first at box office
  • (December 13, 2005)
  • 1              A movie about Narnia, where magic brings four children to
  •         help talking animals fight an evil witch, became the latest
  • 3      fantasy blockbuster with a $67 million opening weekend. While
  •         organizers celebrate, some groups protest that the film carries
  • 5      a hidden religious message.
  •                 Disney’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch
  • 7      and the Wardrobe, based on a popular book series by British
  •         author C.S. Lewis, broke onto the charts with $67.1 million,
  • 9      taking the weekend’s top spot according to box office trackers.
  •         Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire slipped to third place
  • 11     with $10.3 million for the weekend, after spending two weeks
  •         at the top.
  • 13            But some non-religious groups have attacked Narnia as
  •         Christian propaganda, and they urge parents to boycott the
  • 15     film.
  •                Ticket sales indicate that many parents aren’t listening.
  • 17            Narnia is the third fantasy series to leap from book to
  •         screen in recent years, following Harry Potter and The Lord of
  • 19     the Rings. The seven Narnia books have sold over 85 million
  •         copies since their introduction in the 1950s.
  • 21            The movie opens with bombs dropping on London. Two
  •         brothers and two sisters escape World War II, but soon cross
  • 23     into a magic world to become central figures in a fight between
  •         a kingly lion (with other beasts) and an icy witch.
  • 25            Based on a children’s novel by Oxford University Professor
  •         C.S. Lewis, the film is full of strong Christian themes—such as
  • 27     the symbolic Christ character portrayed by the heroic lion
  •         Aslan, according to protesters.
  • 29            One anti-Narnia website declares, “The lion gives his life
  •         for someone who betrays others and then comes back to life; if
  • 31     that is not Jesus in disguise then I don’t know what is.”
  •                Pro-Narnia fans say the books have been popular (in 29
  • 33     languages) with both religious and non-religious people
  •         because the fantasy emphasizes family love and the idea that
  • 35     everyone should live in harmony.
  •                Theater owners welcomed The Chronicles of Narnia,
  • 37     hoping that it will end a negative box-office trend that has left
  •         attendance down 7 percent compared to last year.
  • 39            Right behind Narnia comes King Kong, Peter Jackson’s
  •         first movie since The Lord of the Rings.
  • 41            “That’s great news for the movie industry,” said Paul
  •         Degas, president of the National Theater Owners Association.
  • 43            “These two films are a badly needed Christmas present.”
  •                Estimated weekend ticket sales at U.S. and Canadian
  • 45     theaters:
  •     1. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, $67.1 million
  •     2. Syriana, $12 million
  •     3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, $10.3 million
  •     4. Walk the Line, $5.75 million
  •     5. Yours, Mine & Ours, $5.15 million
  •     6. Aeon Flux, $4.6 million
  •     7. Just Friends, $3.8 million
  •     8. Pride & Prejudice, $2.6 million
  • (391 words, plus ending statistics)


22.1f. News-related feature


  • Narnia fantasy roars into Chinese theaters
  • The film version of a beloved British children’s story gains new
  • fans in China (by Curtis Lin, March 13, 2006)
  • 1              Disney’s mixture of family, fantasy, conflict and a powerful
  •         lion earned top opening-week profits among Chinese
  • 3      audiences, extending the success of its blockbuster, The
  •         Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
  • 5      The $150 million movie is based on a British series that has sold
  •         85 million books since it was first released in 1950.
  • 7              “I hadn’t heard of the book,” said Summer Yang, a local
  •         college freshman. “I decided to go because of its
  • 9      advertisements.”
  •                 Other viewers said friends or teachers recommended the
  • 11      show.
  •                  The story follows four children who pass through a magic
  • 13      wardrobe into a land of talking beasts who struggle against a
  •           powerful witch. There, the kingly lion Aslan sacrificed his life to
  • 15       save a child who had betrayed the others.
  •            One student said she cried when the witch killed Aslan.
  • 17              Betty, another freshman, was deeply moved when the lion
  •            came back to life. “I did not imagine that the writer would arrange
  • 19       such a surprise.”
  •                   This “surprise” was a source of controversy in the west
  • 21       because some protestors saw the lion’s return to life as a
  •            promotion of Christian beliefs. The author, Oxford Professor
  • 23       C.S. Lewis, was a well-known Christian speaker and writer.
  •                   Commentators have described Wardrobe as a cross
  • 25       between blockbusters The Lord of the Rings and The Passion of
  •            the Christ because it has attracted fantasy-lovers and religious
  • 27       people worldwide.
  •                   “Most Chinese people will love it as pure fantasy,” said Dr.
  • 29       Ted Hicks, a visiting English professor. “Back home I’ve taught
  •            the story as fantasy literature, but it’s also the Passion story told
  • 31       a different way.”
  •                   “We all want our children to see good win over evil,” Prof.
  • 33       Hicks pointed out, adding that Lewis wrote the book for a young
  •            relative. “Lewis, like Jesus, was a great storyteller. That’s why
  • 35       the books have been popular with kids for decades.”
  •                   Theater manager Ms. Gong was very pleased with the film’s
  • 37       success. “Narnia made the most money during its first week,”
  •            she said, beating The Transporter, Thunderbirds, and Huo Yuan
  • 39       Chia. She ranked the movie’s opening “best” compared with
  •            other fantasy films.
  • 41              “The movie is better than many fantasies,” according to
  •            Betty, “because it combines reality with imagination, and shows
  • 43       that justice is always the winner.”
  •                   Wang Yan, a third-year student, said: “Narnia was very
  • 45       surprising. The lion’s sacrifice greatly moved me. This film is
  •            really worth watching!”
  • (395 words)


Sources: Box office figures come from Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Author unknown (AP), “’Narnia’ storms into theaters with $65.6 million debut” (Los Angeles: Mercury News website, Dec 12, 2005, visited Dec 13, 2005) northern_california/13387707.htm. Additional sources include personal interviews, e-mail correspondence and various facts from on-line sources.


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