Wait a minute, you may say. Sure, it would be nice to have more family-friendly films, but Hollywood is a business, and like any business, it’s designed to make money. If PG-13- and R-rated films rule at the multiplex, it’s because they’re the most profitable, right?
Guess again. PG-13- and R-rated films don’t make the most money -- not by a long shot. Ironically, it’s G- and PG-rated films that prove to be the most lucrative. Dove examined the average profits per film between 1989 and 2003, and it found that G-rated films produced 11 times more profit than R-rated films. Yet Hollywood produced 12 times more R-rated films than G-rated films during the same time period! What sense does that make?
We repeatedly hear about multi-million-dollar R-rated flops. Then along comes a film like “Eight Below,” a family-friendly Disney adventure about a pack of sled dogs that survive being abandoned in a frozen wasteland, and what happens? It cost $40 million to make and earned more than $81 million. That’s a profit of 101 percent; the producers doubled their money. And that’s par for family-friendly films -- many show greater profits. So why are they few and far between?
Maybe it’s a question of culture. In blue-state Hollywood, what better way to establish your liberal credentials -- and thumb your nose at red-state, middle America -- than to trash traditional values at every opportunity?
Whatever the reason, we can’t change things simply by complaining -- or remaining silent. Our best defense is to support good films. That’s why the folks at the Dove Foundation deserve our praise. They work with producers to encourage cleaner films and put their seal on the good ones. They conduct research that makes the case for family-friendly entertainment.
And their message gets through. According to Ralph Winter, producer of the “X-Men” films, among other titles, “The Dove Foundation provides a valuable service for those of us working in Hollywood trying to reach values-based audiences.” If you count yourself among that audience, you owe it to yourself and your children to speak up in support of good films -- and vote with your wallet. That’s the best way to ensure a happy ending.