By Ted Baehr and Tom Snyder
When millions of Americans watched the beginning of the Oscars ceremony, and then started to drop off and tune out, it became apparant that Americans are more interested in what the stars are wearing rather than who the Academy crowns “the best.” Hollywood is largely disconnected from the average moviegoer as evidenced by the fact that only one of the Best Picture nominees – “The Help” – made it into the Top 25 Box Office Movies of the Year. Even more telling–not counting the animated movies — only one of the nominated movies, “Hugo,” was a family movie full of faith and values.
Year in and year out, for the past 20 years, Movieguide®’s Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry has shown that family movies with Christian, traditional, and conservative faith and values and little foul language, sex, or nudity make the most money. In fact, our Annual Report always has shown that the most family-friendly movies make much more money than the least family-friendly movies with lots of foul language, sexual content, or explicit nudity. Additionally, a glance at the past 15 years shows that movies with very strong Christian, redemptive, moral, conservative worldviews like “The Help,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Captain America,” Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” the “Lord of the Rings” movies, “Passion of the Christ,” the Narnia movies, “Soul Surfer,” Fireproof,” “Spider-Man 3,” and “Amazing Grace” average about three times as much money (or more) as movies with very strong non-Christian, anti-Christian, anti-American, leftist, or mixed worldviews and values, such as “Avatar,” the “Hangover” movies, “Happy Feet Two,” the early “Harry Potter” movies, “The Sixth Sense,” “Austin Powers in Goldmember,” “There Will Be Blood,” “Albert Nobbs,” Michael Moore’s movies, “Brokeback Mountain,” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”
In picking its Best Picture nominations, the Academy seems to be getting at least some of this message. Only one of its nominees, “The Descendents,” was rated R, and that was mostly for foul language, including some sexual references.
However, Hollywood keeps making many R-rated movies, which also average about three to four times less money as family-friendly movies with very strong Christian, redemptive, conservative worldviews and G or PG ratings. Also, it keeps putting objectionable content in some of its movies aimed at families.
For the latter case, all you have to do is examine last year’s “Happy Feet 2,” an animated movie clearly geared toward children and families.
Yet, what did the filmmakers behind “Happy Feet 2” put into their “family” movie? A strong left-wing environmentalist theme based on the discredited theory of massive “global warming” and a message supporting the same-sex marriage ideology of the radical left, which is trying to destroy traditional notions of family and other pro-American, Christian, Jewish, and traditional, conservative values.
The result? “Happy Feet Two” made only $63.7 million in the United States and Canada. That’s only 8 million tickets out of more than 345 million people!
Movieguide®’s Annual Report shows similar statistics regarding the overseas box office and earnings on home video sales. All these statistics are not Christian or conservative statistics. They are factual economic truths that can be proven by anyone willing to do the work.
Before investing any money in Hollywood filmmakers and their projects, Wall Street investors and film financiers should watch out for the anti-Christian, anti-American left-wing ideology of the elite decision makers or knee-jerk Obama supporters that may be contacting them.
Media-wise investing in movies and television dictates that we should choose the good and reject the bad. The average entertainment consumer wants good to conquer evil, justice to overcome injustice, liberty to conquer tyranny, and truth to wipe out falsehood. They and their family members want to watch well-made, inspiring, family-friendly entertainment products that build up, encourage, and uplift, rather than obscene products that tear down, discourage, depress, and attack their values.
Hollywood needs to understand that even if they would rather continue producing envelope-pushing fare that attracts the praise of the elite, what makes money is more uplifting material. Even in Hollywood, it’s the economy, stupid.
Ted Baehr is founder and publisher of Movieguide®: The Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment (www.movieguide.org). Tom Snyder is editor. Movieguide®’s 20th Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala will be telecast Friday, Feb. 24, on the Hallmark Movie Channel at 8 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Central, and 5 p.m. Pacific.