Ted Baehr

Editor's Note: This column was co-authored by Tom Snyder.

This Sunday, millions of Americans will watch the entertaining and glamorous Oscars ceremony. Increasingly, however, it seems Americans are more interested in what the stars are wearing rather than who the Academy crowns “the best.” Hollywood is largely disconnected from the average moviegoer as evidenced by the fact that only one of the Best Picture nominees – “The Help” – made it into the Top 25 Box Office Movies of the Year. Even more telling--not counting the animated movies--only one of the nominated movies, “Hugo,” was a family movie full of faith and values.

Year in and year out, for the past 20 years, Movieguide®’s Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry has shown that family movies with Christian, traditional, and conservative faith and values and little foul language, sex, or nudity make the most money. In fact, our Annual Report always has shown that the most family-friendly movies make much more money than the least family-friendly movies with lots of foul language, sexual content, or explicit nudity. Additionally, a glance at the past 15 years shows that movies with very strong Christian, redemptive, moral, conservative worldviews like “The Help,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Captain America,” Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” the “Lord of the Rings” movies, “Passion of the Christ,” the Narnia movies, “Soul Surfer,” Fireproof,” “Spider-Man 3,” and “Amazing Grace” average about three times as much money (or more) as movies with very strong non-Christian, anti-Christian, anti-American, leftist, or mixed worldviews and values, such as “Avatar,” the “Hangover” movies, “Happy Feet Two,” the early “Harry Potter” movies, “The Sixth Sense,” “Austin Powers in Goldmember,” “There Will Be Blood,” “Albert Nobbs,” Michael Moore’s movies, “Brokeback Mountain,” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

In picking its Best Picture nominations, the Academy seems to be getting at least some of this message. Only one of its nominees, “The Descendents,” was rated R, and that was mostly for foul language, including some sexual references.

However, Hollywood keeps making many R-rated movies, which also average about three to four times less money as family-friendly movies with very strong Christian, redemptive, conservative worldviews and G or PG ratings. Also, it keeps putting objectionable content in some of its movies aimed at families.

For the latter case, all you have to do is examine last year’s “Happy Feet 2,” an animated movie clearly geared toward children and families.


Ted Baehr

Dr. Baehr is the founder and Publisher of Movieguide®: A Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment and Chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission.