Skip to comments.God Movies Make Money
Posted on 04/25/2014 2:03:27 AM PDT by Kaslin
The accountants in Hollywood don't have to believe in heaven to notice the box office numbers on recent movies with religious themes. "Heaven Is for Real" opened in the days before Easter and grossed more than $22 million, coming in second for the weekend, just $3 million behind the latest "Captain America" blockbuster (in its third week). The movie's per-screen average -- $8,895 -- was far above the rest of the top five.
"Heaven Is for Real," like many movies, is based on a best-selling book. It's a real-life story about 4-year-old Colton Burpo and his visions of heaven after an emergency surgery in 2003. Within three weeks of its November 2010 release, the book debuted at No. 3 on the New York Times best-seller list. Eventually, it made its way to No. 1.
Box Office Mojo reported, "Sony targeted their marketing towards Christian audiences, and placed an emphasis on calling ahead for group ticket sales." Stop the presses. Breaking news. There is a Christian audience, and it has wallets that open.
This has happened repeatedly this year.
It happened in mid-March, when "God's Not Dead" opened at No. 4 with a $9 million gross, and then surprised the ticket-watchers by persistently drawing an audience, as it now approaches $50 million at the box office. This comes despite film critics trashing it, and one insisting, "Even by the rather lax standards of the Christian film industry, 'God's Not Dead' is a disaster."
This was not a studio movie, but a production of the Arizona-based Christian company Pure Flix. At the center of the plot is a debate between a college philosophy professor and a freshman student over the existence of God. No, it's not your usual popcorn fare, but there is an audience that surely enjoys the rare occasion of a script strongly striking back at Richard Dawkins and Charles Darwin, offering rebuttal to the usual atheist arrogance of most pop culture products. Interestingly, there is also this: In the corners of the plot are several Christian product placements -- appearances testifying to Jesus by "Duck Dynasty" stars Willie and Korie Robertson, and the Christian-rock band, the Newsboys. Jesus sells.
One can easily see how the word of mouth spreads on a movie like this, when all the people attending the Newsboys' concert at the movie's end are asked to text message "God's not dead" to their friends and acquaintances.
"Son of God" was produced by adding some new footage and re-editing the Jesus sections of Mark Burnett's History Channel miniseries "The Bible." It was released in mid-February and also showed surprising strength, grossing $25 million in its first weekend and a total of $60 million so far. And why not? "The Bible" has become the top-selling miniseries on DVD of all time.
Some have compared these numbers to "Noah," which hasn't lived up to expectations -- especially after the endless hype. But there's a reason it disappointed. Despite the movie's putative inspiration in the Bible, "Noah" isn't a religious movie. The leftist critics were kind, but critics at the conservative Intercollegiate Review panned it as "The Rocky Horror Bible Show," comparing its Noah to a man-hating, eco-maniacal unabomber, and its story as Genesis "rewritten by Cher." It should tell us something that another big-money Russell Crowe movie, "Gladiator," had a nobler view of God and man.
Just as there's always an audience for a horror movie, and there's always an audience for a romantic comedy, there is always an audience for faith-friendly films. Theater owners have been learning that lesson all year. Will the Hollywood studios ever catch on?
I am a Christian and I don’t go to many movies anymore because most of them are pure trash. I did go watch Heaven is for Real and God’s Not Dead. Enjoyed both movies. Heaven is for Real reinforced my belief in God and Heaven and angels and I enjoyed the movie tremendously. God’s not Dead is a good account of what is happening in most universities across the country today with professors jamming liberalism and anti-Christian rhetoric down the throats of our children. I would highly recommend both movies.
“Despite the movie’s putative inspiration in the Bible, “Noah” isn’t a religious movie. The leftist critics were kind, but critics at the conservative Intercollegiate Review panned it as “The Rocky Horror Bible Show,” comparing its Noah to a man-hating, eco-maniacal unabomber, and its story as Genesis “rewritten by Cher.”
The left now tries to re-write Scripture by simply putting out nonsensical books and movies filled with leftist bunk and calling them “Christian”. Every time they do it they eat away at peoples’ faith; I’m shocked at how many people still think “The DaVinci Code” is real despite the author’s confession that it was fabricated. In an attempt to act sophisticated, unlearned Americans are eating this nonsense up.
God Is Dead. Except at the Box Office.
Yet theres no reason to think that such movies will do anything to stanch the broad and ongoing decline in religiosity. And theres even less reason to worry about the trend toward a less godly country.
Gallup reports that fully 77% of Americans agree that religion is losing its influence on American life, and that just 20% think religion is gaining influence. Mainline Protestantism has especially taken it on the chin over the past 50 years. In 1965, over half of Americans were active members of Lutheran, Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and similar denominations, according to The Catholic World Report. That number is now below 10%. While independent bible-based churches and the Catholic Church show some growth (largely due to immigrants), Pew Research reports that the number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. Indeed, such nones now comprise 20% of the population and one-third of adults under the age of 30.
Those numbers will keep growing. With each successive generation from the Silents born between 1928 and 1945 to Gen-Xers born between 1965 and 1980 Americans have gotten less and less religious. Millennials, who were born between 1981 and 1994 and outnumber Baby Boomers, are embracing secularism for a variety of reasons, none of which is likely to disappear.
Millennials are far more likely than previous generations to view organized religion as intolerant, sexist, and homophobic. That attitude isnt helped by traditional Islamic theology, the Catholic Churchs position on female priests, or political candidates such as Ray Moore, who is running for lieutenant governor of South Carolina and calling for Christian parents to remove their children from public education (Pharoahs school system).
Sociologists agree that religion is generally less important in societies where basic existential needs food, clothing, shelter, education, work are covered. Even with the global financial crisis of the past few years, the fact is that Americans and other residents of the developed world are still doing extremely well by any standard. Even the poorest countries are gaining ground, which suggests that they too will become more secular over time.
While its understandable that believers would worry about secularisms effect on non-believers souls, the widespread sense that a godless society is a lawless society is clearly wrong. A line routinely (though controversially) attributed to Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky sums up the fear of many religious people: If God does not exist, then everything is permitted. Yet the plain fact is that over the same period during which America has gotten less religious, crime of all sorts has declined massively, teens are waiting longer to have sex, abortion rates are down, the divorce rate is at a 30-year low, and philanthropic giving remains strong despite economic lassitude.
Not buying how crime has declined massively, teens are waiting longer to have sex. Abortion is down which is good, but women, especially minorities, are still having them. As for divorce, I think fewer people (except for homosexuals) are getting married to begin with.
This guy makes it sound like we don’t need God, we are just fine without Him. Time will tell.
The Blu Ray is even better than I had hoped for. Just beautiful.
That's true - a lot of old movies don't look as good but that one was amazing, especially on our giant TV. My family was LOL - you could see the details of Nefratiri's underthings through her dress. I guess it's a good thing she had them on or all these years later we would have had a bit too much info!
My 12 yo nephew and his friend wanted to see God’s Not Dead - my sister took them about a week ago and they all really enjoyed it. I thought it was great that they both piped up one day and said, I really want to go see God’s Not Dead - - figured they would want to see an action movie. I think my sister and BIL (and his friend’s parents) are raising the boys right!
There’s genuine Christian movies, and then there’s “Christian” movies that are there just to try to either milk a buck from the rubes, or to try to con Christians into swallowing liberal drivel.
“and then theres Christian movies that are there just to try to either milk a buck from the rubes, or to try to con Christians into swallowing liberal drivel.”
They are trying to re-define Christianity in their own image (with some success). Today we have “churches” where sexual deviants are “married” (or serving as “ministers”), where women hold roles Jesus had specifically filled with men, etc.; there is no trace of Christianity as revealed in the Bible left in these social gatherings. The participants have been bombarded with false Judeo-Christianity, where Sodom & Gomorrah were destroyed by meteors in a completely natural event and Pharoah’s army was destroyed by a high tide in an act of nature. I’ve even seen Noah’s flood pinned on a natural event (a natural dam breaking that loosed the Black Sea, IIRC); the Devil is very active undermining true faith.
And even a bad religious movie is better than most Hollywood dreck.