What’s a good recipe for box office and DVD sales success? It seems in 2011, pro-America sentiment mixed with conservative values and faith-centered themes equaled a hit.
This according to an annual study conducted by the Christian-focused entertainment advocacy group Movieguide, which found that in 2011, American audiences preferred movies with strong conservative content and values over movies with liberal or left-leaning values by an almost six-to-one margin.
The 760-page report claims that films with a conservative or pro-American edge, such as “Captain America,” “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” “Soul Surfer,” “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “Battle: Los Angeles” raked in significantly more box office green than more liberal films like “Red State,” “Super 8,” “J. Edgar,” “Glee” and “Ides of March.”
“People want good to overcome evil, justice to prevail over injustice and liberty to conquer tyranny. They respond to strong heroes and even strong heroines, but they are turned off by radical social engineering and big government programs,” Movieguide publisher Dr. Ted Baehr said of the report, which rates movies using several criteria such as “anti-communist content,” “strong biblical morality,” and “strong pro-capitalist content.”
The study also claimed that the stronger the Christian worldview in the film, the more money it made.
Films considered to have a significant redemptive or religious focus such as “Pirates of the Caribbean: Stranger Tides,” “The Help” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” made more money in theaters last year than those with a non or anti-Christian core, or a mixed/humanist perspective, including “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” The Hangover II” and “The Rum Diary.” In fact, Movieguide’s report asserts that the Christian-motivated movies, on average, earned four times as much in box office returns – $64.3 million as opposed to $15.9 million.
“Most people dedicated to a particular faith are likely to find the violence, substance abuse, sexual immorality, and mocking of traditional values in most modern movies offensive," said Megan Basham, entertainment editor at Christian news site, World Magazine. "The rare well-made film that offers the opposite is going to appeal to church-goers of every stripe."
In addition, Movieguide reports that among the Top 25 DVD sales last year for theatrical movies, 52 percent had at least a small amount of patriotic or pro-Christian content, while only 8 percent were considered to be on the left side of the spectrum.
Baehr also pointed out that more than three quarters of Americans (238 million people) and 2.3 billion people globally, identify themselves as Christians, and Hollywood is finally starting to realize that this niche is an important one.
“When we started Movieguide in 1985, there were only one or two movies being made with a strong, explicit Christian content or values, but now there are well over 50 each year,” Baehr continued. “Every studio now has a Christian film division, and several studios are doing major movies with strong Christian content. And now all of the major studios, not just Disney, are making movies for young children and families.”