Skip to comments.Viewers with a viewpoint: Can Christians change the culture by going to the movies?
Posted on 10/28/2005 9:51:06 AM PDT by Caleb1411
Here is how Christians can change Hollywood, according to Jonathan Bock: "Go to more movies."
As a publicist, the founder of Grace Hill Media, Mr. Bock might be biased, but here is his reasoning, as explained in the book Behind the Screen: Hollywood Insiders on Faith, Film, and Culture (Baker): "If Christians would go as a demographic bloc to a movie on opening weekend, we could make that movie a hit. And the studios would make more films just like it."
The movie industry has been in the economic doldrums, with declining ticket sales and a smaller demographic slice going to theaters. But 43 percent of Americans are church-goers, many of whom find themselves mocked and their values undermined in the typical Hollywood fare. But when Christians found a movie they likedThe Passion of the Christthey made it the third-biggest moneymaker of all time, last year accounting for one-fifth of the movie industry's total profits.
Mr. Bock quotes Disney mogul Michael Eisner: "We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective." If this is true, Christians can use the power of the marketplace to influence the marketplace of ideas.
Christian pollster George Barna has engineered an arrangement with the movie studios and theater networks to test the concept. BarnaFilms Preview Night will select four worthy movies a year. Churches and other groups can buy blocks of at least 50 tickets. This will entitle them to a special showing the night before the film is officially released.
"The success of a film is largely determined by its opening weekend box-office revenues," Mr. Barna told WORLD. "By churches turning out in a bloc to witness a particular film, we begin to exercise the power of numbers, which can then influence the creative and business executives in Hollywood to develop movies that satisfy the entertainment interests of Christians."
The first movie featured with a Preview Night is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Mr. Barna admits that the Narnia movie, already being hyped to churches with the same marketing campaign used in The Passion, "will have virtually universal awareness whether we have a preview or not." But "future films that we expect to preview are likely to go unnoticed without a special effort to gain people's attention."
(Churches that would like to organize a preview of the Narnia movie so members can see it a day early, on Dec. 8 instead of Dec. 9, can go to BarnaPreview.com.)
But why concentrate on movies? Isn't our preoccupation with perpetually entertaining ourselves part of our cultural problem? Mr. Barna said that according to his research into the factors that influence people's lives today, "The upper tier is comprised of seven influencers: movies, music, television, the internet, books, family, and public policy. Together, those seven entities appear to have about 60 percent to 70 percent of the influence on what people think and do." In the very bottom tier of cultural influences, he said, is the local church.
Using Christians' buying power as a way to influence the culture has its skeptics. "The idea that Christians will go see films targeted at them has not been borne out by the marketplace," says film scholar Thom Parham, also writing in Behind the Screen. "Christians, it turns out, see the same films as everyone else."
That is part of the problem, says Conservative Films' David Stidham, who has devised a rating system to assess the moral content of a movie. If Christians would both refuse to go to morally questionable films and support the relatively few positive movies in droves, then they would make an impact.
But marshaling economic clout for cultural influence is a provocative tactic, beyond just the movie industry. Christians have tried boycotts, but those seldom work. The oppositerewarding Christian-friendly and morally sensitive companies by giving them our businessmight pay bigger cultural dividends.
bump for later
I haven't seen Dreamer but heard it was good. Don't see Zorro, which I saw two weeks ago. Zorro spends quite a lot of time DRUNK after a fight with his wife, and the plot is preposterous. Who would think that Zorro, a hero, would be wasting our time being drunk instead of going after bad guys? I should have asked for a refund.
I saw Dreamer and really enjoyed it. It's a good family movie. I used to watch the Zorro TV series when I was a kid and loved it. All the kids in the neighborhood would take big pointed cactus stalks and have sword fights - lol. But after your review, I won't bother to see the movie.
There aren't exactly a lot of movies about abortion. The one everyone cites (The Cider House Rules) was six years ago.
No moral obligation ever existed for Mr. Eisner's ilk. The only way I believe we can force those who run most of Hollywood to begin producing artful movies that make a moral statement is to stop going altogther, until they get it right. Or at the very least, attend only those very few movies worth watching.
If Hollywood and the boob tube produced decent movies and programs, with some basic Chrisitan morals and values, crime amongst our young people would drop off sharply. Hollywood glorifies the behavior of punks, which breeds more punks. I believe they know full-well that their 'product' is a cancer on American culture.
I meant that as a herd, abortion is one of their precious sacrements.
Here is my list for the last few months.
It is difficult to do; but possible to find movies that are not sleazy, pushing bed hopping, and homosexual agendas, etc.or political views.
"War of the Worlds"
"Must Love Dogs"
"Return of Zorro"
I loved WOTW. Much more faithful to the tone of the novel then the 1953 version (which was entertaining in its own way) and virtuosic filmmaking.
Actually 'Vera Drake' gave a sigficiant voice to the anti abortion side (the titular character's family) as well. Much more so then any movie I've seen in a long time. Jack Nicholson is also an outspoken opponent of abortion.
No. Time and again, family friendly movies have made piles of money. But they still produce anti-family crap. They're not interested in money.
Even Zarutha had a few lines that made me cringe: "Fetch me a juice box, be-otch."
It's too early to say nothing has followed Passion, the normal movie cycle is two years and it's only been 18 months. Narnia is a direct result of LOTR, and I'd say some editing decisions were made because of Passion, but we won't know for sure until next spring what the effects of Passion are.
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