Reviews for the film were "generally unfavorable" from film critics. The film was successful at the box office, becoming a surprise hit, debuting at No. 4 and becoming the highest-grossing independent film of 2008, grossing over $33 million. It received awards from evangelical Christian organizations, including the Best Feature Film award at the 2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.
Married couple Caleb (Kirk Cameron), a fire captain, and Catherine Holt (Erin Bethea), a hospital administrator are experiencing marital difficulties. At work Caleb underscores the importance of never leaving one's partner while at home he and Catherine argue copiously. Catherine accuses Caleb of being selfish due to his desire to buy a boat taking preference over paying for her mother's medical bills, and frustrated over his habitual use of internet pornography. Caleb feels unappreciated and undervalued. Their constant arguing causes Catherine to demand a divorce, to which an enraged Caleb agrees.
Caleb's coworker Michael (Ken Bevel) and father John (Harris Malcom) convince him to hold off on divorce proceedings. His father persuades him to try the Love Dare, a 40-day challenge for improving marriages by changing the way a spouse is treated. Caleb reluctantly agrees, though he decides not to tell Catherine. At the hospital where she works, Catherine has been openly flirting with Dr. Gavin Keller (Perry Revell).
Caleb begins The Love Dare halfheartedly viewing the tasks as more of a checklist, while nurses at Catherine's hospital warn her not to trust him as they interpret his actions as a way to butter her up for a better divorce settlement. With encouragement from his father and Michael, Caleb continues, though Catherine eschews his affections and grows closer to Dr. Keller. Finding Catherine unmoved, Caleb is consoled by his father while Michael reveals that he has been divorced. Caleb sustains burns on the job, and while being treated at the hospital where his wife works, Dr. Keller inadvertently discovers that Catherine is married and he is treating her husband, but continues his affections. Caleb continues The Love Dare with renewed faith and Catherine gives him an envelope petitioning for divorce.
Catherine discovers that her mother's medical costs have been paid anonymously and thinks it was Dr. Keller, bringing them closer. Caleb discovers the burgeoning affair and confronts the doctor. After Caleb leaves, Dr. Keller produces a wedding band, revealing that he is also married, and ends his affections towards Catherine.
Catherine confronts Caleb after discovering his Love Dare journal, and he reveals to her that he has completed the challenge but is still following its guidelines. Catherine says she needs time to reconsider the divorce, and discovers that her husband used his savings to pay her mother's medical bills. Moved by Caleb's selflessness, Catherine reconciles with him. Caleb discovers that his mother, whom he has treated poorly, is actually the one who completed The Love Dare for his father, and not vice versa as Caleb had originally thought. The film ends with Caleb and Catherine renewing their wedding vows.
The film's supporting cast also included nearly 1,200 volunteers from Sherwood Baptist Church.
Principal photography for Fireproof took place during October–December 2007 in 16 locations, all of which were donated. Craig von Buseck of the Christian Broadcasting Network said that the film was, "beautifully shot in and around Albany, Georgia, home to Sherwood Baptist Church." The Albany Fire Department donated its fire station locations, trucks and even some of its crew for use during the filming. The producers were also given use of a train and a hospital wing. The film's cast and crew were made up of 1,200 volunteers, along with a professional film crew of eight who worked below rate.
The film soundtrack for Fireproof was released on July 14, 2009. It features songs by Christian groups and artists, such as Casting Crowns and Third Day, as well as highlights of the film's score, composed by Mark Willard.
- "Fireproof" – Main Title (2:11)
- "Brighter Days" – Leeland (3:44)
- "This is Who I Am" – Third Day (2:32)
- "On the Tracks" (6:08)
- "The Love Dare" (1:02)
- "Slow Fade" – Casting Crowns (4:40)
- "Not Good Enough" (1:00)
- "What You Don't Have" (2:37)
- "House Fire" (6:01)
- "While I'm Waiting" – John Waller (4:52)
- "Temptation" (2:52)
- "The Apology" (2:43)
- "Personal Sacrifice" (3:48)
- "You Belong to Me" – Grey Holiday (1:50)
- "She Did It To Me" (1:50)
- "Love Is Not a Fight (Movie Version)" – Warren Barfield (4:28)
- "Bonus Track: While I'm Waiting (Fireproof Remix)" – John Waller (4:49)
In 2010, the soundtrack for the film was nominated for a Dove Award for Special Event Album of the Year at the 41st GMA Dove Awards.
Instead of marketing with television spots and billboards, Fireproof's marketers invited Christian publications to the set and screened the film early for pastors and church groups. Meyer Gottlieb, president of Samuel Goldwyn Films said, "The marketing is more grass roots."
Fireproof's advance sales accounted for 40% of all Fandango sales the week before the film opened. It was released on September 26, 2008 in 839 theaters and grossed $6,836,036 in its opening weekend, placing at No. 4. During its run, Fireproof had a domestic gross of $33,456,317, more than triple the lifetime earnings of its predecessor, Facing the Giants, and moving it into the top 6 grossing Christian films of all time. It was the highest grossing independent film of 2008.
Fireproof has received generally mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave it rating of 40%, based on 20 reviews. Metacritic gave it a metascore of 28, based on 6 reviews, signifying "Generally unfavorable reviews". Ed Gonzalez of LA Weekly said, "Fireproof stops becoming relatable to us all and only to the already, or easily, indoctrinated." Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter said, "While hardly sophisticated in its approach and certainly not polished in its technical elements, the film does get its heartfelt message across with undeniable sincerity. Its success at the box office, which will no doubt continue on home video, demonstrates that there's no shortage of filmgoers dissatisfied with cynical Hollywood product."
Josh Rosenblatt of The Austin Chronicle criticized the film's story, saying it "makes for fruitful soul-fishing but lousy drama." Joe Leydon of Variety gave the film a positive review, saying, "Cameron is genuinely compelling as Caleb, a work-obsessed firefighter on the verge of divorce from his neglected wife." Cheryl Dickow of the Catholic Exchange said, "I feel it is necessary to send a message to Catholics everywhere that this is a movie worth seeing."
Fireproof was released to DVD on January 27, 2009 and to Blu-ray on September 29, 2009. Included as special features are deleted scenes, bloopers, behind-the-scenes making-of featurettes, and a commentary by the Kendrick Brothers. On its first weekend of DVD release, it ranked third in retail sales and fifth in rentals with a rental index of 51.02. Through January 2016, it made $54.9 million in DVD sales.
2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film FestivalBest Feature Film
Runner up for Best of Festival.
17th Annual Movieguide Faith & Values Awards Gala$100,000 Epiphany Prize
The Dove Foundation's Crystal Seal AwardsBest Drama