Hollywood and the mainstream press are finally honoring the importance of faith and family in a public way.
For the second year in a row, Variety, the granddaddy of all entertainment industry press outlets (now in its 98th year), brought out a bevy of top Hollywood executives, producers, writers, and artists, some of them Christians, to discuss the popularity of Christian, family– friendly, and faith– friendly movies and television programs at a special summit.
Nearly 50 key players in the entertainment industry spoke at the day– long summit held Friday in Beverly Hills at the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel, where many celebrities stay and where many major movie studios hold press junkets for their upcoming projects.
The highlight of the day was a Q & A with Actress/Producer Roma Downey and her husband, Producer Mark Burnett, the creators behind the popular BIBLE miniseries on the History Channel, which was seen by 100 million viewers this spring in America.
They confirmed plans for doing similar programming in the future, including putting together a two– hour movie from the Jesus portion of the miniseries.
“This heightened interest in producing family and faith– based movies and television programs is a dream come true, but it took a lot of years, a lot of prayer, and a lot of work,” said Dr. Ted Baehr, founder of Good News Communications, dba the Christian Film & Television Commission® and Movieguide®: The Family/Biblical Guide to Movies and Entertainment, created in 1978. “God made this happen,” Dr. Baehr added.
For 21 years, Dr. Baehr and Movieguide® have hosted the Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry, which honors movies and television programs for families and movies and television programs with Christian, biblical content.
Since the Awards Gala and Annual Report (which shows that movies with faith and family values make the most money) began, the percent of movies marketed to families has grown from only six percent of the market to 30 percent and the percent of movies with at least some Christian, redemptive content has grown from 10.38 percent to 56.90 percent.
During a brief presentation, Dr. Baehr also showed summit attendees that movies with strong Christian, redemptive content and values make three to six times as much money as movies with graphic or immoral content and values.
Chief Marketing Officer Steven Quinn of Walmart told the summit’s entertainment industry attendees that 98 percent of Walmart’s 140 million weekly customers want safe family programs.
He also noted that studies show viewers who watch positive, family– friendly programs are 30 percent more likely to remember the ads during that program, but viewers who watch programs with lewd or violent content are 20 percent LESS likely to remember the ads.
Besides Downey and Burnett from TV’s THE BIBLE, other industry leaders speaking at the summit included the writers from the DESPICABLE ME movies; executives from Fox, Sony, DreamWorks, the Hallmark Channel, Samuel Goldwyn Films, TNT, and Walden Media (THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA and JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND); actors/producers Corbin Bernsen of PSYCH and Patricia Heaton of THE MIDDLE and EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND; and, producers from major production companies such as Relativity Media, Legendary Pictures, and Alcon Pictures.