Hollywood has long defended the production of what many find offensive, dark and twisted programming by insisting it is providing only that which is demanded by the "market." The reverse is also proclaimed: Movies with positive, life-affirming messages are rarely made because the public isn't interested.
Dr. Ted Baehr, founder of the Christian Film and Television Commission, has delivered a devastating indictment on what is, pure and simple, Tinseltown mythology.
Last year, Hollywood released 28 movies with explicit sexual content, nine movies with very strong homosexual content, 10 movies with very strong politically correct content and 15 movies with very strong humanist, anti-religious worldviews, including "Kinsey." Baehr reported: "The movies with explicit sex earned less than $6.3 million on average. The movies with a very strong homosexual content earned even less than that, averaging about $1.2 million. The movies with very strong politically correct content averaged only $15.7 million, and the movies with very strong humanist worldviews averaged only $11.5 million."
Baehr found these numbers "are in stark contrast to the average earnings of movies having strong Christian worldviews, with strong biblical conservative values, such as 'The Passion,' 'Ladder 49' and 'The Incredibles,' which averaged more than $106.8 million!" You can disagree with Baehr's worldview if you'd like, or quibble about his methodology if you want, but his conclusion still hits the bull's-eye: "It pays to distribute good, moral Christian movies with positive biblical values."
The new moviemaking kid on the block, Walden Films, understands this truth -- and opportunity -- and is striking it big, once again, with its newest release, "Because of Winn-Dixie."
You might think that the plot of this film is too formulaic for critics to tolerate -- rascally stray dog brings warmth to kid starting over in a new small town. But to children, the world of movies is brand new, and they should all be given warm childhood memories of seeing family films with a good heart, movies that didn't make them hide under their coats in fear or quiz Mom about the meaning of erectile-dysfunction jokes.
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