Ryan Zempel

Would you care to cast a vote regarding what you'd like the culture to be like? You can do so this weekend. And every weekend thereafter.

It'll only cost you the price of a movie ticket.

Every weekend the entertainment industry focuses its attention on one place -- the box office. And every weekend, the success or failure of any movie opening that weekend communicates to the entertainment industry what it is that the public wants to see.

Saw opened well? Then we shouldn’t be surprised to see Saw II and Saw III at the box office. Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie tanked at the box office? It’s no wonder we haven’t seen Bob and Larry on the silver screen since.

So what are we to do? Decry those degenerates who enjoy blood and gore? That may make us feel better, but it wouldn’t accomplish anything.

Instead, we should opt for a much more enjoyable and constructive alternative -- let's all go to the movies!

Judicious movie attendance can send a loud and clear message to Hollywood. Far too often, conservatives sit on the sidelines, waiting to be assured regarding the political and moral purity of a movie before even approaching the theater a few weeks after the movie opens. That's a few weeks too late.

According to Jonathan Bock, president and founder of Grace Hill Media, “Opening weekend is the barometer by which Hollywood measures success. If a film earns a lot of money in its first three days, nothing else matters. It’s a hit, and the industry will immediately scramble to make more films like it.”

In Hollywood, the amount of money a film makes is the bottom line. They don’t care about the values of conservatives unless those values are having a direct impact on their bottom line. One can argue that Hollywood would be doing much better if they weren’t offending our values, but they won’t understand that until they see movies that share our values raking in the cash at the box office.

So where do we begin?

Well, thanks to Walden Media, conservatives have an ever-increasing number of opportunities to vote for cultural change. Education-oriented Walden is committed to bringing award-winning children's literature to the silver screen and has already treated us to Because of Winn-Dixie, Holes, I Am David, Charlotte's Web, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

This past weekend Walden released Bridge to Terabithia, which landed in second place at the box office, letting Walden know that their strategy is sound and sending a message to the rest of Hollywood (wouldn't you like to inspire some copycats?) that this is just the sort of family-friendly entertainment we're looking for.

Of course, the desire for family-friendly entertainment is a message Hollywood has probably already pretty well-ingested (although it never hurts to remind them that quality movies like Bridge to Terabithia are preferable to some of the dreck that passes for kids’ movies these days).

However, when it comes to movies that adults enjoy, Hollywood could stand to become a bit more educated. And this upcoming weekend, thanks once again to Walden, provides a perfect opportunity.

This Friday, Walden's Bristol Bay Productions comes out with an incredible offering -- Amazing Grace, the story of William Wilberforce and his fight against the slave trade. Like the classic Chariots of Fire and the more recent Luther (a box-office disappointment), Amazing Grace offers an inspiring portrayal of a man who impacted history by living out his faith. I don’t know about you, but this is just the sort of inspirational faith story I’d like to see more of.

I’ve already had a chance to see Amazing Grace and I can attest to its excellence – artistically, morally, and inspirationally. I plan to see it again – this Friday – and I plan to invite a number of other people to see it with me. You should do the same.

Amazing Grace itself is a lesson in the cultural change we need to be effecting. As Wilberforce’s friend William Pitt the Younger tells him, “we’re too young to realize that certain things are impossible.” Like Pitt and Wilberforce, we should be undaunted by the task of changing the culture to better reflect our values. And we can do so, quite simply, by watching this movie this weekend.

Significantly, Bristol Bay has already announced plans to follow Amazing Grace with a film adaptation of "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis. Their plans will doubtless be affected by the success -- or failure -- of Amazing Grace.

It's time to get out there and vote.


Ryan Zempel

Ryan Zempel is the Chief Creative Officer of RegenerateCulture.com which is dedicated to sparking a reformation of arts and entertainment.

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