December 10, 2005

GOTTA BE IN IT TO WIN IT:

Hollywood Revival?: Christians keep Hollywood profitable (the Editors, 12/10/05, National Catholic Register)

That’s what Barbara Nicolosi, who teaches Christians the art of screenwriting, told Godspy, an online magazine, in a recent interview.

“A Christian project saved the global box office from 2001 to 2003 with Tolkien’s trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. Then another Christian project, The Passion of the Christ, saved the global cineplexes in 2004. And yet another Christian story is going to save the entertainment industry this year with C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

That’s the movie that opens Dec. 9 and is based on the novel by Christian apologist C.S. Lewis, the 20th-century Anglican author who brought many people into the Catholic Church, though he never joined them.

Nicolosi is right, but there’s more: Christian audiences have always proved Hollywood’s most lucrative.

Look at the highest grossing films of all time (adjusted for inflation).Three of the top 10 have Catholic themes: The Sound of Music, The Ten Commandments and The Exorcist. Half of the top 10 are family films.

The list of the top 100 is also full of surprises. Ben Hur comes in ahead of huge blockbusters like Return of the Jedi and Jurassic Park. The Bells of St. Mary’s beats Return of the King and Spider-Man 2. And the amount of money taken in by The Passion of the Christ beats the legendary success of Revenge of the Sith, Harry Potter and the first two Lord of the Rings movies.


Once Christians got over their contempt for politics--largely through the efforts of guys like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson -- they transformed the political culture. Next in line are academia and the arts.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 10, 2005 12:01 AM
Comments

"The Exorcist" has a Catholic theme?

Posted by: Ptah at December 10, 2005 8:58 AM

P:

Absolutely. The priest who has come to question the reality of Good because of his mother's painful death -- if memory serves --- has it restored by the reality of Evil and sacrifices his own life with faith in God restored.

Posted by: oj at December 10, 2005 9:05 AM

The only reason that the movie had to use a Catholic priest, is because the Catholics have a big bag of tricks, including mo-jo and ju-ju. Not to mention the stuff in the catacombs you have not even heard about.

Posted by: AllenS at December 10, 2005 9:55 AM

ptah: you're joking right ? that's like asking if "The Godfather" had a "mafia theme".

one interesting thing about the movie is the first part which was set in, and filmed in, Iraq.

Posted by: ebert's pork chop at December 10, 2005 11:34 AM

LOTR and Narnia were heavily inspired by the Christianity of their authors but ranking them as Christian movies alongside Ben-Hur, Passion and Ten Commandments is going a bit far. Same goes for The Sound of Music which didn't have much Christianity in that I could recall.

"The list of the top 100 is also full of surprises. Ben Hur comes in ahead of huge blockbusters like Return of the Jedi and Jurassic Park. The Bells of St. Marys beats Return of the King and Spider-Man 2. And the amount of money taken in by The Passion of the Christ beats the legendary success of Revenge of the Sith, Harry Potter and the first two Lord of the Rings movies."

Well, not much of a surprise. Inflation was sky-high years ago and entertainment options have continued to grow.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at December 10, 2005 12:14 PM

i believe that when comparisons are made between movies that were produced many years apart, they compare the number of tickets sold (and not the box office total $$).

there is a clear correlation between the coarsening of movies (in general) and the decline in ticket sales (in general).

most people are basically decent and won't pay to see garbage. you are right that there are more options for entertainment now, but people still respond to the same stories/characters.

Posted by: ebert's pork chop at December 10, 2005 12:40 PM

The list is dominated by PG and PG-13 films. Why does Hollywood crank out so many R rated films if they are obviously less profitable?

Posted by: Gideon at December 10, 2005 2:37 PM

Gideon:

They tend to do consistently well in international territories.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at December 10, 2005 2:52 PM

The whole issue with Christianity and movies boils down to only a few items:

1) Don't always make the traditional Christian the bad guy.

2) Families want to see movies that show: the triumph of virtue over evil, might in service of right, upstanding authority figures, traditional values.

The issue is not whether Christian theology is included, it's that people don't want to see movies that reveal hostility towards them.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at December 12, 2005 12:02 PM
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