How Moral and Patriotic Movies Offer a Glimpse into the True Heart of America
By Movieguide® Staff
Despite the global pandemic debilitating the international and domestic box offices, Movieguide® showed that moral content that offers a struggling community hope performs best.
As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, theaters reopen, and blockbuster movies are released, moral and biblical themes such as sacrifice, family, and loyalty lead the way for the box office’s recovery. These values are synonymous with the patriotic heart of America, as well.
“The weekend saw John Krasinki’s A QUIET PLACE PART II take the top spot at the box office with $57 million. Krasinki insisted on a theatrical release for Paramount’s pro-family thriller. Although only 72% of theaters in the U.S. were open during the weekend, A QUIET PLACE PART II still posted impressive numbers,” Movieguide® wrote.
Movieguide® previously reported on the disparity between TENET’s box office performance and A QUIET PLACE PART II:
One of the first movies to test a theatrical release was Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller TENANT. Released in Sept. 2020, TENANT’s performance was lackluster, with a domestic opening shy of $10 million. TENET had a light humanist worldview with violent action scenes.
Fast forward to May 28, and John Krasinki’s sci-fi thriller A QUIET PLACE PART II earned nearly $50 million, posting the best ticket sales amid the pandemic. Uniquely, the QUIET PLACE sequel was the first exclusive theatrical release in 8 months.
The drastic difference in success is undoubtedly affected by the number of open theaters and the roll-out of the vaccine. However, another factor has proven to remain valid throughout the list of pandemic releases: morally uplifting movies that offer hope sit atop the box office.
Although TENET is not morally ambiguous, A QUIET PLACE PART II champions family, sacrifice, good conquering evil, and several other biblical themes.
The recent release of F9 further proves that people are eager to get back to theaters, so long as the movies they are watching are moral.
Ahead of the Fourth of July, few genres exude the themes of sacrifice, hope, and loyalty as blatantly as the war genre.
“What ties every conflict Americans have engaged in together – and possibly every movie made to commemorate such conflicts – is that through the centuries America’s soldiers have continued to embody the same courageous, selfless spirit that defined our military from George Washington onward.” Movieguide® wrote.
For decades, Americans have unified and rallied behind the idea that conflict can be overcome together. Despite 2020 becoming more divisive in the media – due to the election, differing views on the COVID-19 safety mandates, tensions across races, and even religious differences – a movie’s success still offers a small glimpse into the heart of the majority of Americans who still believe unity is strengthened through hardship.
This truth has been portrayed in the golden age of Hollywood with movies such as THE PURPLE HEART, SANDS OF IWO JIMA, THEY WERE EXPENDABLE, and THE GREAT ESCAPE, as well as modern movies like HACKSAW RIDGE, LONE SURVIVOR and ACT OF VALOR.
Another genre that has led the box office due to its strong patriotism are superhero movies like Marvel’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER.
“Movies with more conservative values not only do better in the United States,” Dr. Ted Baehr, founder of Movieguide®, said at the Movieguide® Awards in 2016. “They also do better overseas. The success of movies with at least some strong conservative values in 2016 is no fluke. It’s been true ever since we began doing our comprehensive political analysis 13 years ago in 2003.”
“People want good to overcome evil, justice to prevail over injustice, and liberty to conquer tyranny,” Dr. Baehr added. “They respond to strong heroes and strong heroines…”