Should Christians Stop Using the Label ‘Faith-Based Movie’?
By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher, and Dr. Tom Snyder, Editor
Fox News recently published an article quoting several “experts” making Christian movies as saying that the label “faith-based film” is “unnecessary” and “needs to disappear.”
This is a ridiculous notion and displays a lack of understanding about the movie industry.
First, the people cited in this article are not the only “experts” who study or make “faith-based” movies, much less the only experts on movies in general or the history of movies in general, even less so bonafide film “scholars.” The article doesn’t even quote anyone from Pure Flix Films (GOD’S NOT DEAD, DO YOU BELIEVE? and THE CASE FOR CHRIST) or the Kendrick brothers (FIREPROOF and WAR ROOM), who are the most successful and among the most talented of the filmmakers making faith-based movies today.
Secondly and unfortunately, the filmmakers cited in the article, whom we appreciate, have not been that successful financially. If they want to make other genres of movies, those movies should be evaluated on their merits. The quality of the movie has as much to do with its success as the genre. There are mediocre movies in every genre of film that fail at the box office, which is not to argue that the genre should be abandoned.
Thirdly, you might as well start talking about wanting to stop making kids movies or movies for African American audiences and Hispanics, or stop making family films or superhero movies. Labels like these are important because they help market your movie better.
In fact, contrary to the Fox News article, Gibson’s THE PASSION and HACKSAW RIDGE and Sandra Bullock’s THE BLIND SIDE are indeed faith-based movies. However, like GOD’S NOT DEAD 2, which is also a courtroom drama, they are also a 1) biblical movie, 2) a war movie and 3) a family drama, respectively.
Finally, smaller, more independently produced faith-based movies that are well made, such as GOD’S NOT DEAD or WAR ROOM, actually make far more money than the average independent or arthouse movie and, in today’s market, much more than foreign language movies currently in the U.S. and Canada, which seem to be failing miserably these days. So, it makes more sense to stop using the labels “independent” movie or “arthouse film” or “foreign language movie” than it does to stop using the label “faith-based film.”
Since MOVIEGUIDE®: The Family/Biblical Guide to Movies and Entertainment began rewarding movies with faith and values at our Annual MOVIEGUIDE® Faith & Values Awards, featuring our Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry, the number of “faith-based” and “faith-friendly” movies with “strong Christian content” has increased from only 11 movies in 1995 (the first year we adopted this label) to 67 movies in 2016, an increase of 509%!
Also, the earnings of such movies have gone from making about $200 to $500 million to regularly making more than $3.8 BILLION!
In addition, under our continuing support, the number of successful family-friendly movies has also greatly increased, including such movies as the recent remake of THE JUNGLE BOOK, FROZEN, ENCHANTED, CINDERELLA, the TOY STORY movies, and the DESPICABLE ME franchise.
Our expertise in these fields has led to an increasing number of filmmakers consulting with MOVIEGUIDE® about the kinds of movies and entertainment that make the most money, year in and year out.
It has also led Hollywood to insert overt positive Christian content in major blockbusters such as the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise, LOGAN and even the James Bond movie SKYFALL, the most successful Bond movie of all time.
In the wake of our success, MOVIEGUIDE®’s website at www.movieguide.org has become the favorite and most popular Christian review service and the favorite and most popular family review website of parents, grandparents, children, teenagers, and young adults.
The 26th Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry will take place Feb. 2, 2018 in Los Angeles.