Americans Want Movies with Morals, Christian Values

When Hollywood gives moviegoers entertaining movies with moral values and inspiring stories full of positive faith, moviegoers flock to the … Continued

When Hollywood gives moviegoers entertaining movies with moral values and inspiring stories full of positive faith, moviegoers flock to the box office. Every year the Annual Movieguide® Report to the Entertainment Industry shows Hollywood’s decision makers that movies with faith and values do much better than movies that overtly attack traditional faith and values.

As we will see during Sunday’s Academy Awards, last year was no exception. Six of the most successful movies of the year — “Wall-E,” “Iron Man,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “Prince Caspian,” “Gran Torino,” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” — contained strong redemptive content with positive Christian references.

The comic robot hero in “Wall-E” is willing to give up his life and the love of his life to save mankind. In “Iron Man,” the capitalist playboy Tony Stark gets a new heart, gives up his life as a cad who doesn’t care about his country and battles evildoers.

“Prince Caspian” shows that prideful faith in self has to give way to faith in the Christ figure of Aslan, who saves Narnia at exactly the right moment in time. A priest teaches a gruff atheist that love and sacrifice are better than revenge in Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino,” which was unfairly snubbed by the Oscars this year. Finally, in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” Indiana Jones hears the words of Jesus Christ in a church as he finally does the right thing and marries his beloved, the mother of his son.

It was also the year that “Kung Fu Panda” showed that there is no hidden occult secret and that anyone can obtain greatness through self-sacrifice. The Christian movie, “Fireproof,” earned much more money than any other movie released by small independent film studios. And, it cost less to make than most indie movies

Not only did moviegoers prefer heroic movies with very strong moral virtues, they also rejected movies with anti-Christian, secular, nihilistic, and atheist content like “Religulous,” “Adam Resurrected,” “Save Me,” “Wanted,” “Hounddog,” “Bloodline,” “Hamlet 2,” “The Love Guru,” “Stop-Loss,” and “Saw V.”

The difference between the domestic box office averages for these two categories was $59.9 million per movie for the positive movies versus only $10.4 million per movie for the negative ones.

Furthermore, contrary to popular opinion, 2008 was the year that obscenity, sex and nudity didn’t sell — again. In fact, movies with no foul language, no sex and no explicit nudity earned much more money on average than movies with some foul language, sex and explicit nudity, or a lot of it, by 2 to 1 or more!

Once again, G-rated movies made more money than movies with other ratings, especially when compared to R-rated movies. For example, among the Top 250 movies at the box office in 2008, G-rated movies averaged $64.1 million in North America, but R-rated movies averaged only $14.6 million.

Just as good if not better, movies that matched Movieguide®’s highest, most family-friendly standards, including the traditional understanding of Christian theology and ethics, averaged $61.9 million at the domestic box office compared to only $17 million for those movies that we labeled “abhorrent.”

People of faith and values want to see role models they can emulate in the stories they watch on the big and little screen. They want to see good conquer evil, truth triumph over falsehood, justice prevail over injustice, and beauty overcome ugliness.

If Hollywood wants to reach more people, they should look to people of faith and values. Hollywood needs ticket sales, not bailouts! Movies with strong morals make money.

Dr. Ted Baehr is founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE® and Chairman of The Christian Film & Television Commission. Dr. Tom Snyder is the editor of Movieguide.

  • apollo640

    There is, in this article, a giant elephant in the room that fails to gain the attention of the authors, the greatest grandest most gloriously nihilistic spectacle of a Hollywood film ever made… The Dark Knight.

  • treetopflyer

    BTW, Baehr and Snyder – as a Christian I can only say that you’re thinly veiled, “We’re number 1″ attitude sickens me.

  • Jeff50

    Indy makes the list because he gets married in the last 5 minutes of the film? Iron Man counts because he battles bad guys? This whole argument feels pretty flimsy, almost as if “making lots of money” is the fastest way to get put on your list of Christian-valued films.

  • paris1969

    This is an absolutely ridiculous analysis: ” For example, among the Top 250 movies at the box office in 2008, G-rated movies averaged $64.1 million in North America, but R-rated movies averaged only $14.6 million.”

  • jorbys

    While the Joker represented nihilism (“an agent of chaos”), the Dark Knight took a stand against it and insisted on justice. If anything, the Dark Knight had Batman as a Christ figure who was willing to sacrifice himself for the good of many (as commented on by multiple reviews last summer). This movie does not counter the hypothesis. If anything, the authors could have included it in support of their argument.

  • TMac4

    It always intrigues me that when supposedly “moral” or “family-friendly” movies make no money, it is because of a reprobate culture. When such movies do make money, however, it is because the society overwhelmingly approves them.

  • LookingFromOutside

    It seems to me that self-interest is the winner…two christians promoting their own survey.What is their take on Milk…that has strong redemptive qualities and sound morality (and I’m not gay)?

  • [email protected]

    UNFORTUNATELY, ‘its the economy stupid.”FOX HOLE” believers in God come out of hiding when times get rough.

  • shmaryahoopizzaman

    And yet, many Americans are capable of distinguishing between a house of worship and a movie theater. And many Americans, honest and upstanding, God-fearing and well-intentioned, firmly believe that there are many perspectives from which to view and reflect on the human drama.And as to the value of “redemptive” films, life is not always filled with happy endings; and many of life’s lessons are lost on those who refuse to accept that the human condition is filled with failure and futility.

  • kjohnson3

    “People of faith and values want to see role models they can emulate in the stories they watch on the big and little screen. They want to see good conquer evil, truth triumph over falsehood, justice prevail over injustice, and beauty overcome ugliness.”Please define “people of faith and values.”Please explain what is good about beauty overcoming ugliness.

  • maevtr

    this article is rediculous. People arent seeing these movies because they hold “good christian morals” (personally i dont see any coralation between christianity and morality). The Reason people are seeing these movies, is because A.) they are for the whole familiy, and B.) because these are “feel good” movies, they let people escape from reality, and forget about their problems. The masses flock to these movies because they do not want to see the reflection of real life, they want to be as far from is as they can. Note to the author, usually the movies that rake in the largest amounts of cash are also the movies that have the least amount of artistic substance (example : Indiana Jones – that movie was rediculously bad.)

  • sarahabc

    This argument is really reaching. To call all movies with a positive moral message “Christian,” is going too far. Christians don’t own morality. Or Iron Man. I think it is probably more apt that happier, simpler movies (ex: good guy wins) do well in hard times, but even that will require more effort to conclude than you have done here. Sorry, but true.

  • kwires

    There will always be a market for family oriented movies. However, I think your review of the past viewing year is pushing the adulation a little much. You failed to mention the largest grossing movie “The Dark Knight”. This movie deals with concepts like good and evil, vigilantism, heroes with villainous traits. Doing the right thing at a cost. Also Iron man has always been a heroic character in the comic books. Most Marvel characters are. Spiderman does the right thing and is thought of as a villain, yet continues to do what is right. Dr. Strange was a greedy surgeon whose hands are destroyed in an accident. While searching for a cure finds redemption at a Buhhdist temple and becomes a sorcerer for the protection of mankind. These are all redemptive, just not Christian. These principals of doing the right thing at a cost and Power requiring responsibility apply to the Christian ethic as well as most other religions.”The Reader” is also a big hit this year. I am not sure why you left this one out. Oh right, it has sex in it. It also deals with the Christian paradox of following the prince of peace while moving your Jewish neighbors to the death camps. I guess I can see why you left this one out.Not in the movies, but in television, You had the acclaimed series “the Shield” and the new program “Damages” that take a more complex view on human thinking and behavior. The Shield was incredibly violent.I probably would not have thought to respond if you had merely spoken about the increase in interest with movies consistent with a Christian theme. Trying to make the case that these movies are being viewed favorably and the ones with sex and violence not so much is just a little to “preachy” and as in many sermons not completely accurate..

  • ProgessiveVoter

    Wow the author really knows how to present “facts” to back up their arguments. Given that America is all about making money, one would suspect that the producers would only be bankrolling religious films. When somebody proposes to speak for all Americans I get worried. There writing would fail any basic sociology course paper and certainly no peer review journals. I am happy that hollywood produces all kinds of films (I can enjoy G rated to R rated and base my choices on having a good time in the movies, being entertained and sometimes challenged). Amen!

  • jackowen

    Dark Knight has been mentioned as an obvious oversight in this article. What about Hancock, Twilight, Quantum of Solace, Sex and the City, Tropic Thunder, Role Models, Step Brothers, Pineapple Express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall?Do these box office hits fall into the family friendly Christian category?

  • US-conscience

    I praise God for interest in movies with positive messages and the disdain for movies with out any positive value. I praise God that in a time where people are losing faith in their 401-k’s, their gov’t, their savings and their own ability to overcome any obsticle: people will be more likely to turn from their sins and cry out to God.

  • ashleybone

    Christians neither invented nor have ownership of love, sacrifice, or heroism. As is clear from Mr. Baehr’s and Mr. Snyder’s article, they are also not free from bigotry, smugness, nor self-serving delusions.There was nothing remotely Christian about Wall-E, Iron Man, or most of the other movies you mentioned. They were just well-made movies with themes of compassion and redemption that long predate your religious ideology.

  • GregTReich

    Other than the movies other people mentioned–especially “The Dark Knight”, what the columnists here neglected to mention is that most R-rated movies open in far fewer theaters than G or PG movies. Other people have pointed out that the movies that are G and PG are ones the whole family can see; R movies have a smaller potential audience. I agree that Christians do not have a monopoly on love, sacrifice, and altruism. Some of us are altruistic because we have empathy. It is all in the sample of movies picked for comparison. By the way, someone pointed out the “The Dark Knight” dealt with good and evil. Actually, it didn’t. It dealt with crime, vigilantism, sociopathy, and chaos. It is so much different–refreshingly so–than the old Batman films and television series.

  • sperrico

    I think that most people go to the movies with the friends and spouses sex and with children. It just makes it easier if everyone can go to one show. And most people feel uncomfortable with prolonged nudity or any sex act when they are accompanied by other people. Christianity has nothing to do with the popularity of R rated movies with little sex but plenty of violence, PG-13 and G rated movies.

  • coloradodog

    “..highest, most family-friendly standards, including the traditional understanding of Christian theology and ethics, ..”Codewords for small and shallow neochristian dogma that excludes anyone and everyone different from the judgmental evangelicals at MOVIEGUIDE. Last election, we voted out theocracy in the US. Take a hint and try to stop jamming it down our thoats.

  • SpideyVCU

    Let me guess…Indy makes the list because he’s battling the godless commies this time…Senator Mccarthy would have loved these guys

  • treetopflyer

    No one sells more food than McDonald’s. McDonald’s must therefore be the most wholesome, moral food there is.

  • washpost18

    “Dr. Ted Baehr is founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE® and Chairman of The Christian Film & Television Commission. Dr. Tom Snyder is the editor of Movieguide.”Wow, project (badoom-sha!) much? I can pull a bunch of numbers out my arse and draw a series of meaningless conclusions from them as well. The only difference is I haven’t set up my own special interest group to provide closure of the circular logic loop.

  • Bios

    Bloggers have already answered brightly to this post, I would just like to add that both authors are suffering the typical side effects from bible addiction: delusion and bigotry.“People of faith and values want to see role models they can emulate in the stories they watch on the big and little screen. They want to see good conquer evil…”To what audience are they referring to? People under 5 years old where movies and reality may seem close to the same thing?Are they suggesting that people with no faith/values just see movies as entertainment?

  • markfromark

    What kind of Christian value is beauty triumphing over ugliness?

  • Scully127

    You forgot one of the most spiritual movies of the past year: Slumdog Millionaire. It is a movie about self-transcendence, staying good despite evil and corruption, and loving purely. I think many Christians love the movie for those reasons. Plus, it shows the conflicts between Muslims and Hindus, yet it shows how all of the India ended up cheering for a Muslim boy on the game show.I agree: movies with religious undertones do significantly better over the long-term.

  • Scully127

    You forgot one of the most spiritual movies of the past year: Slumdog Millionaire. It is a movie about self-transcendence, staying good despite evil and corruption, and loving purely. I think many Christians love the movie for those reasons. Plus, it shows the conflicts between Muslims and Hindus, yet it shows how all of the India ended up cheering for a Muslim boy on the game show.I agree: movies with religious undertones do significantly better over the long-term.

  • FredZuber

    “Gag Reflex”Just what I need to see, a movie about a martial arts bear. Something mind-numbing that fits into the religious model. Why on earth would I want to see that kind of drivel? Just like TRIX, those movies are for kids. So now we have some ridiculous justification for morality and religion because movies are rated G. People only want to be entertained when they go to the movies. Teddy and Tommy, just think about it if you’re able. Movies bring income to studios. They’re going after whatever market they can. There’s nothing moral or religious about any of those movies you mentioned, unless it’s accidental or you seeing mirages. It only happens that the movie formula works and all the little brain-washed religico kids are supposed to see the eternal good and truth, and justice, and the American way. Get a grip on yourself. I’ll recommend a religious movie for you. “Jesus Camp” There’s plenty of morality and religion in that one. After watching it, tell me you want your kids to grow up that way. Yes, grow up to be good little sheep without a mind of your own. Morality and religion in the same breath. That’s oxymoronic. Just look through history and show me where the morality is. What was the Catholic Church doing about the Jews during World War II? Let’s drop a few names about morality. How about Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard, Jim and Tammy. All winners in the moral circle. Speaking of circles, how Jerry Falwell, the original Teletubby. How I long for the good old days of the Inquisition. Nothing could be sweeter than the smell of roasting flesh after the Salem witch trials. We really should do something about those witches. Instead of watching for entertainment, what’s wrong with watching a movie to learn. Maybe we should have some movies about the witch trials and the Inquisition. “Religulous” an atheistic movie? I suppose Teddy and Tommy, and all the little kiddies aren’t up to it. Well maybe the kids have an excuse, but Teddy and Tommy sound as if they may have been interviewed by Bill Maher and didn’t know how to answer him. Where were you in that movie? “Saw V” What, are you guys crazy? How can you even consider these two movies in the same vein. It must be that, in your minds only, there are two kinds of movies, moral and religious, and the other kind; whatever that is. Religion is for those who are unable to think for themselves. I’m an atheist, and I have morals. I haven’t killed anyone lately, or robbed a bank. And I did it all without religion and superstition. The movies you’re advocating make me want to stick my finger down my throat and gag.

  • jennandgus

    Totally backwards. Christian myths were honed over centuries by weeding out parts that didn’t have a good story-telling effect such as the hero’s journey. Look at Greek and Roman stories. They both directly led later to Christian myths as well as Hollywood. Funny how the people most arrogant and ignorant always seem to think they started things.

  • Athena4

    WALL-E was a Christian movie? Could have fooled me! I thought that it was teaching the decidedly un-Christian values of taking care of the Earth, cleaning up after yourselves, etc. The only Christian mind-set about it is that all of the Humans got Raptured up to the heavens, where they all got fat, lazy, and dependent on bots to do their work for them. Behind it all was a mega-corporation that had a major stake in keeping humans lazy and dependent. Yep, that DEFINITELY sounds like Christianity to me!

  • johng1

    Wall-E was created by MAN, not some gd god. Man created that fictitious AI. Kowalski in Gran Torino was UNREPENTANT. He only gave the gd catholic church the house at the end to rightfully screw over his ungrateful offspring. Iron man?

  • Athena4

    Another good counter-example of this is “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. Remember that we’re talking about show BUSINESS here, folks. Movies are planned at least a year in advance (and more, in the case of the special-effects-heavy and animated movies.) based on what studio executives think will be popular. Movies like “The Dark Knight” and “WALL-E” have been in production since at least 2006, when the previous administration was going strong and studio executives saw a more traditionalist turn in the country. Therefore, writers, producers, and directors pitched more “good vs evil” types of movies to Hollywood. Correlation does not prove cause.

  • blackskeptic

    One of the things that saddens me about this article is that it presupposes that only Christians/religious people are capable of having morals. Going from bad to good is not only a religious concept, it’s a human concept. All movies discuss some sort of morality in them, and it doesn’t make them religious in any way.

  • hyjanks

    Jeez! I wish the movie studios would come out with a REAL Christian movie, something that would get me to pay ten bucks plus the expense of popcorn, Necco wafers, and and the gas that it takes to get there.

  • rob36

    This article’s assertion that basic human values like redemption, sacrifice, and overcoming adversity are somehow uniquely Christian in their origins, character, and appeal is absurd. Unfortunately it’s all too common to run across Christians claiming that belief in a god – and more specifically their god – is a prerequisite for living a life of solid moral value. Of the “successful” movies cited, the only one with a solid Christian connection is Prince Caspian…and it doesn’t really belong on this list as it was a box office under achiever that almost killed the Narnia cinematic franchise.As others have pointed out, the authors’ omission of the year’s biggest grossing film is obviously a convenient oversight as it’s complex social and psychological underpinnings do not easily fit into the simplistic mold of mainstream Christian morality.

  • wmviolinist1

    …well that was 5 minutes I will never get back…what a load of useless drivel…and not even good logic. I would be embarrassed to have my name on it, if it were me…man!

  • kyeong6250

    Prince Caspian” shows that prideful faith in self has to give way to faith in the Christ figure of Aslan, who saves Narnia at exactly the right moment in time. A priest teaches a gruff atheist that love and sacrifice are better than revenge in Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino,” which was unfairly snubbed by the Oscars this year. Finally, in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” Indiana Jones hears the words of Jesus Christ in a church as he finally does the right thing and marries his beloved, the mother of his son.It was also the year that “Kung Fu Panda” weird….

  • SilentAlarm

    “In fact, movies with no foul language, no sex and no explicit nudity earned much more money on average than movies with some foul language, sex and explicit nudity, or a lot of it, by 2 to 1 or more!”Why are Christians so scared of sex? Is it really more morally right to have explosions, gunfights, and murder in a movie (as in the case of Iron Man) than to show a naked body or two people engaging in an act of love?

  • hfisher1

    The only reason that Christians have become such goody-goody two-shoes is that their poison fangs have been pulled. When Christan dominance raged, it was normal to drown or burn “witches,” “heretics” were garroted, and people were brutalized in order to satisfy the fantasies of moral purity of the Christians. In my opinion, Christians suck ass along with all the other wild nonsensical religious fantasts such as the crazy Moslems. We would be far better off without the religious idiocy that has gripped so many people like a contagious mental illness. In any case the Christians have to be closely watched so they don’t rise to grasp power. Because if they do, they will soon “fix” us (all for our own good, of course …) “God” help us then.

  • washpost18

    The consensus appears to be pretty much unanimous – these are not guests to be invited back until they are educated in some fundaments of logic.

  • Count0

    The whole article seemed as intent on plugging Movieguide as anything else.

  • bstrong1

    I liked this article, but I don’t know if people understood the point this article makes. A film does not have to be inherently Christian to have a good message or to appeal to families or those who are trying to avoid seeing sexual content or foul language, or I would add, excessive violence. We just like movies that don’t contain immoral content or messages. I enjoy movies with Christian messages, being one myself, but I also enjoy other movies, so long as they do not contain immoral themes. I can understand that movies with good themes would do better, as I myself review the content of movies before I fork over ten bucks for a show.What I gathered from the article is that movies that are family friendly, as I will refer to them, do better than movies that don’t. If this is true, and I assume that the author has done his homework on this, then movie makers would do well to take note that the public at large likes movies that have a good moral, and that avoid themes and content that are immoral.

  • Blah-Blah

    Here, here to hfisher1! Well put!

  • washpost18

    bstrong1:That’s interesting. Coming at it from the other direction (I’m an atheist), I see the article as yet another in a long series of attempts by christian extremists to delineate morality as something exclusive to fellow believers. The cherry picked box office numbers are a smoke-screen for this message. Of course “family friendly” movies would return better numbers; by nanny-state legislation they play to a larger potential audience.

  • homesower

    Gregtreich said:There are a lot of factors that determine overall sales, and part of that is the number of theaters that show the movie. But theater owners base their decisions on what they think will sell. It sounds like theater owners agree that generally clean films do better than those that are Rated R.

  • homesower

    You all are reading more into this than there is. The authors are just pointing out that movies on the clean side of the spectrum do better, on average, than movies on the opposite side. Profanity turns more people off than it brings in. Sexual content is less a draw than a turn off. The goal of their research is to convince Hollywood that they should invest more time and money on movies that a family can feel comfortable watching.There is a strong market for all kinds of movies, and all kinds will continue to be made, but perhaps a movie investor would be wiser to think family friendly.

  • Count0

    Homesower wrote: “But theater owners base their decisions on what they think will sell. It sounds like theater owners agree that generally clean films do better than those that are Rated R.”High profile R movies still have wide releases (and do comparably to G-rated films.) Taking an average of all R-rated movies includes large numbers of niche films that are not released to all theaters. I believe the point being made is that performance is more a function of budget and advertising than content. The problem arises when you attempt to compare an independent film made on a shoestring budget to something like Wall-E.

  • Count0

    Homesower wrote: “There is a strong market for all kinds of movies, and all kinds will continue to be made, but perhaps a movie investor would be wiser to think family friendly.”Not as far as return on investment goes. The top three R-rated movies for ’08 all did significantly better than Wall-E (the top G movie) did.Sex and the City cost $65 million to make and made $415 million worldwide, for a ratio of 6.5 to 1.Wanted cost $75 million and made $341 million, for a return of 4.5 to 1.Gran Torino cost $33 million and made $140 million, for a return of 4 to 1.Wall-E cost $180 million and made $534 million, for a return of a bit below 3 to 1. Net profit was $254 million, which is also less than that of Sex and the City and Wanted.

  • Carstonio

    “This article’s assertion that basic human values like redemption, sacrifice, and overcoming adversity are somehow uniquely Christian in their origins, character, and appeal is absurd.”Exactly. This article is a disgusting exercise in sectarian chauvinism, and it would be disgusting from any sect. Most offensive is the idea that any one religion has some exclusive title to “family friendly” values, a highly nebulous concept at best. Those values listed above can exist alongside obscenity, sex and nudity in the hands of talented moviemakers.”They want to see good conquer evil, truth triumph over falsehood, justice prevail over injustice, and beauty overcome ugliness.”That often doesn’t happen in real life, and expecting that to always happen in the movies is unrealistic. Often movies can say more about the human condition when injustice prevails at the end, because we can learn from the fictional injustice how to value real-world justice. Most importantly, in the real world there is no such thing as pure good or pure evil. People are combinations of good, evil, and indifference, and sometimes great evils are committed by people who are convinced they’re doing the right thing. We learn more from movies that recognize the gray areas in morality than we do movies that delude us with white-hat-versus-black-hat cartoonish treatments of morality.

  • Bios

    Homesower,“You all are reading more into this than there is.”Yeah, right. And you are not reading into it at all.Are they not associating family-friendly standards to christian theology & ethics? Do they not compare movie characters with the christ figure? Are they not stating that anti-christian, secular, nihilistic and atheist content movies suck and have no strong moral virtues? etc., etc., etc…It’s really sick.

  • reasontoforgiveischoicenochoicenoforgiveness

    1) If movie houses were guaranteed the same percentage of income and time from an adult vs minor child, the revenues of R films would outdistance other films proportionately. 2) With access to many types of media in the privacy of ones home, why be seen going into a controversial public viewing venue.

  • Summermute

    (1) To the extent that kids (really, really) like to see movies, and thus G rated movies are favored by families with children and the theaters that serve them – then this article belongs in the Business Section, not the “On Faith” section.(2) A G rated movie can well entertain children and their families and have absolutely nothing to do with the promotion of so-called “Christian values” (as if these were uniform among Christian sects). (3) I’m 42 and have one young son. To me, there seems to be far, far more children focused movie and broadcast entertainment than when I was growing up. In my opinion, being exposed to more challenging “adult” culture alongside Sesame Street and the very occasional Disney animated movie helped me to grow up in an adult world. I fear that my child will grow up on some kind of perpetual G rated cultural playground, only to be unable later in life to adequately handle the very real subtle nuances of a very real adult life.

  • Duff1

    So called “christian movies” will be about as good as so called “christian music”. There is one universal thing about all christian music. It is all bad music. Good luck with the movies.

  • maevtr

    lol… it looks like 99% of the posters here were able to see the rediculousness of this article.

  • tonyprzy

    Geez, the comments on this forum are always so vitriolic. Look, the fact that the author draws analogies between the action of the characters in this movie and christian values is not “sick.” For example, the author simply recognizes the self-sacrifice of Wall-E as something that is esteemed in the Christian faith. If your not Christian, then I’m sure you still exhibit values that are admirable to Christians. People, if you want to be secular or atheist or spiritual with no relation to any specific religion, that’s fine. But what’s with the animosity towards a religion that preaches fidelity, self-sacrifice, generosity, and love. I’m a Catholic, but I didn’t lay waste to Jerusalem or burn any witches and neither did Jesus Christ.

  • Carstonio

    “the fact that the author draws analogies between the action of the characters in this movie and christian values is not ‘sick’.”That by itself would be a fair analogy. The sick part is the author claiming that his religion has exclusive title to those values. “But what’s with the animosity towards a religion that preaches fidelity, self-sacrifice, generosity, and love.”This isn’t about the authors’ particular religion, or any religion in general. The animosity is toward the claim of exclusivity toward those values, which implies that members of other religions do not or cannot value love or fidelity.

  • msperry1

    Just because something is popular, doesn’t make it right. It would seem that Christians would look back to a guy named Jesus and remember that they believe he was right, and he was certainly not that popular in his own time.That said, I believe it is the tale of redemption that has the power, not the power of a Christian message. In fact, the Christian message, no matter how false, is quite popular precisely because it offers redemption, even if it is an empty and non existant redemption. Redemption is not gained through Christ, but through your own goodness. Indiana Jones redeemed him self by marrying the mother of his child (something we secular people acctually do see the value in, no matter how what your straw man of us would have you think), and a similar point can be made about Iron Man, and probably about most of the other movies up there other than Prince Caspian, since that was in fact written as a Christian allegory for kids, and I am sure is soaked in Christian mythology.It’s nice that you think Christianity has the redemption marked cornered, but the 300 Spartans laid down their lives for their fellow man, as did many others before and since Jesus, and yet it is their deeds and not their creeds that make these people appealing to us, even today.

  • ScottChallenger

    Wrong once again. You guys want fee market, capitlaism, rah rah rah, except when it comes to stuff you want to manipulate. This is a market, and guess what – most of mainstream America DOES NOT “buy” into this Christian moral rah rah crap. You guys should invest in and fund your “morals” movie, market it, distribute it, and then watch how much $$ you lose. But let me guess – it’s all Baraks fault.

  • Skeptick

    Bids,You need serious help, dude. Lighten up.

  • dmm1

    Wow. If one were to judge only by the comments here, one would have to conclude that nearly all atheists and liberals are very nasty people. The vitriol and ad hominem attacks are amazing.Can atheists and liberals read? The authors of this article do a good job (IMO) of pointing out that movies with a Christian worldview (even if it is only partial or subtle) do much better (on average) IN THEATRES than movies that are overtly hostile to a Christian worldview. The authors NEVER say that a movie must be explicitly Christian to be a box-office success. They NEVER say that Christianity has a monopoly on “family values.” They NEVER say that Christianity has a monopoly on “Christian” themes such as self-sacrifice, redemption, love, etc. They NEVER say that only G-rated movies qualify. They NEVER say that there are no exceptions to the rule. (Of COURSE some nasty anti-Christian movies do well. What don’t you understand about the word “average”?) And they NEVER propose government-imposed censorship.The only intelligent critical commnent I’ve seen is from the person who pointed out that trashy movies might make lots of money on home viewing instead of at the box office. That’s a point worth looking into. Although, to theatre owners, it’s a moot point.

  • interestingidea1234

    this analysis is embarrassing. for every argument that supports ‘christian values’ in the movies listed there are a dozen counter-arguments. this is laughable.

  • dolph924

    Once again, “godliness” is contrasted with sexuality. If the gods invented by various human hucksters over the millenia had anything to do with the creation of humans, then surely human sexuality was a big part of it. Did all these gods err? The hypocrisy and pretense of articles like this one are hard to stomach. Get a life, old men! Just make a movie where Angelina Jolie and Halle Berrey get naked and get it on and trust me — it will set every box office record known to man.

  • EnemyOfTheState

    I was interested to see that Stop Loss was grouped into the nihilistic, anti-Christian movies that didn’t do well at the box office.I’ve seen the movie and I don’t recall any anti-religious references. In fact, at the end, the protagonist returns from being AWOL and rejoins his outfit in Iraq. Quite a positive statement about loyalty and friendship, no?Let’s be clear about why Stop Loss was criticized. It had nothing to do with anti-Christian values: The real problem for conservatives was that it presented a dim view of war and the military’s stop loss policy.

  • elife1975

    I think it’s safe to say this is simply a poorly concieved and obviously biased article. Basic crap.

  • Carstonio

    “They NEVER say that Christianity has a monopoly on “family values.” They NEVER say that Christianity has a monopoly on “Christian” themes such as self-sacrifice, redemption, love, etc.”While they never say that explicitly, they talk about Christianity and those values and themes as if the two were the same thing. If their intention was to discuss what values filmgoers want to see expressed on screen, then it would be more appropriate to do so in nonsectarian ways.

  • bhinmd

    I, for one, am sick and tired of the huckstering of Christianity for profit. I am a discerning moviegoer and a Christian, but the overtly “churchy” movies are an immediate turn-off. Jesus told the apostles, “You received free, give free.” Real Christianity is not a for-profit enterprise. The professed “Christians” that use their so-called faith as a vehicle to sell books, movies, and music run a real risk of being among those told by Jesus, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

  • khote14

    boy, that’s pathetic. To claim that Wall-E is a christian movie is just …. you people are pathetic.

  • Paganplace

    Pretty ridiculous article, just trying to claim that only Christianity has anything good about it, by what, finding something Christianish about ‘positive’ movies and associating horror movies and a Bill Maher movie that didn’t even get *shown* in most theaters cause of market-censorship, really with ‘atheism and sex and nudity and the worst of all sins, ‘Market failure.’The Academy awards don’t even *say* anything much about the artistic quality of a movie, it’s all its own politics, anyway, and everybody knows it. As for the Indiana Jones movie, I was pretty disappointed overall. It actually just seemed totally-random, though I admit that the evil Soviet ‘Moose and Sqvirrel’ lady kind of caused my attention to flag. I mean, Last Crusade actually *had* some overtly Christian content, not to mention an actual archaeological puzzle. :)After some pretty bleak times, not to mention a hard slog ahead cleaning up after the results of right wing popularity, *everyone* seems to want some more ‘positive’ fare, for escapism and the like, this is a pretty-well-observed aspect of the national mood right now. Hec, it’s why I rented the movie in the first place. Anyway. Silly article. Claiming it’s all and only about ‘Jesus’ (even when it’s a movie about a panda learning some Buddhist stuff) is just trying to market certain ideas as ‘winners’ and associate others with ‘losers.’Frankly, especially when you try to call non-Christians political *non-entities* you can’t blame *us* for the steady diet of horror and slasher and lurid fare that’s been out there all this time. I mean, it’s really hard to sell me a horror/slasher movie: even if I particularly cared to expose myself to the imagery, these things are made to play on the *majority’s* religious and existential fears. It’s, frankly, the ‘majority culture’ which crafts these dramas based on *their* fears and then tries to *associate* other, real people *with* those fears. The ‘moral majority’ can’t get enough.It’s mostly just gross and obnoxious, to me. :)

  • ewrules

    How can you claim that Iron Man is a Christian movie and Saw V is an atheist movie? Neither have anything to do with religion. You claim that Prince Caspian has Christian values because it teaches to have faith in a higher power, but is this not also a Muslim value? If it is not uniquely Christian, don’t claim that it is a ‘Christian value’. It comes across that being a good person in general is specifically Christian, which is wrong.

  • Paganplace

    Well, the ‘Prince Caspian’ movie actually *does* come from an author who was deliberately *trying* to write Christian allegory.

  • Paganplace

    Also, I’ll point out that at one point this past year, as every late night comedy host loved to point out, *the* biggest box office returns were from some rather lackluster animated funny thing about penguins or some such. Were they looking for ‘Christian values’ or just something *cheerful and diverting?*

  • catweasel3

    If you are taking your family to the movies to learn their values, then you are already in trouble.

  • jezebel3

    Truly the dumbest stuff ever on this blog!!! Pass the Kool-aid.

  • Paganplace

    Left out a bit, there, but someone who’s about both promoting ‘Christian film’ *and* putting out the neutral-sounding ‘Movie Guide’ really ought to know the difference: between pushing an agenda and what *actually* appeals to a broad variety of people *tired* of the polarization. Not to be trying to *use* the swing in our national mood to *sell things which polarize *more…** As if that were actually what’s selling em.

  • outlawtorn103

    Here’s the logical flaw in the article:The writer assumes that “good conquer evil, truth triumph over falsehood, justice prevail over injustice, and beauty overcome ugliness” are Christian values. While Christianity does celebrate these ideals, it is not alone. Nearly every other religion and secular philosophy praises these same ideals as well. I can see the color red. You can see the color red. Just because Christians see and admire the color red does not make it a Christian color. Christians merely share that color with all other human beings.

  • cohenj2

    The statistics and logic cited in this article are, at best, laughable.

  • DanD1

    So if PASSION OF THE CHRIST was R rated — and it was — does this mean it doesn’t reflect Christian values?Even if it made $370 mil?

  • Paganplace

    My understanding is it would have been NC-17 at *least* if it wasn’t, Dand. :)

  • LookingFromOutside

    It’s good to see that the vast number of comments are completely negative.Of the western nations only the USA consistently pushes this type of religious imperialism. Such moral arrogance by these intellectual pygmies brings your nation into disrepute.

  • jimmyminder

    I didn’t see Milk mentioned anywhere in the post.

  • ivri5768

    No milk, no mom, no apple pie or dessert of any sort. A disgrace to people of “faith” and cholesterol everywhere.

  • globalone

    Actually, one of the best movies about Jesus and Christianity is The Matrix.

  • Bios

    Hahaaa..hilarious Ivri!

  • Bios

    The Matrix, yes. Great movie, corny ending.

  • B2O2

    Yes, let’s see a movie that puts forth Good Christian Values ™. Like, for instance, what to do with your kids when they act up or are stubborn? STONE THEM TO DEATH, NATURALLY! It would be a wonderful family film. Lots of shocking, terrifying blood and gore, and angst as the little tyke writhes in pain under the merciless but God-fearing onslaught of rocks and bricks, and his blood flows in little rivulets toward the sewer grating, after the townspeople have taught him what-for. Imagine the drama as he whimpers and begs for mercy, and then finally succumbs to loss of blood and cranial fractures. Cool, eh?GOOD CHRISTIAN VALUES! GREAT ENTERTAINMENT! And all supported by scripture. (And we like to think those Muslim fanatics are nuts.)Deuteronomy 21:18-21If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:

  • ladymacbeth977

    I can enjoy “Wall-E” and “Dark Knight” both for their high quality and good stories. Funny how this writer is comparing excellent G-rated movies with R-rated movies that… kind of sucked. How about, instead, we compare “Space Chimps” to “Slumdog Millionare?” Oo, the natural superiority of G-rated movies isn’t quite so obvious now, is it?I think it’s good that there are good G-rated movies out there, for all of us to enjoy, and that the kids can enjoy, too. I think it’s good that there are good R-rated movies out there, because there are many good stories that can’t be told with a G rating. Including, I have to point out, quite a few of the stories in the Bible. I don’t think there’s any reason to say one is inherently better, though.

  • riddledj

    Christians have plenty of outlets for entertainment purposes. Remember that Kirk Cameron made for TV drama about the apocalypse? From what I hear, those books and that movie SUCKED! Christians and other religious groups have huge amounts of money that invest in these kind of movies. They even have their own TV station (CBN). Please, leave it it Hollywood to make the decisions about what movies to make.All your examples were pretty secular choices. These were not overtly religious movies that never mentioned any teachings of Jesus Christ.Love? Compassion? These are values that EVERYONE has and its not just Christian. Instead of trying to appeal to Christians, why not appeal to the greater human emotions of love and hate and make a movie that tells a good story, regardless of what religion (or no religion) is mentioned.If Christians cannot accept it, so be it. There are plenty of rational Americans that would like to see good movies with morals that may or may not fit into the Christian dogma.

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