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A new study is confirming that if you want to make money in the movie business, get out your Bible and read the values it teaches.
According to the report from Ted Baehr, publisher of MovieGuide, Hollywood movies with strong Christian worldviews make two to seven times as much money as those flicks with explicit sex and nudity.
The assessment looked at nearly 2,700 of the top movies at the box office from 1996 through 2005, and said while pundits and advertisers like to believe that sex and nudity sells, nothing could be further from the truth.
“For example, in 2005, movies with a very strong Christian worldview, such as ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,’ averaged nearly $65 million at the box office, but movies with extreme, explicit sex and nudity, such as ‘Sin City,’ and ‘Inside Deep Throat,’ only averaged $11.2 million or $11.7 million,” the report said.
Movies with less nudity but still strong sexual content, such as “Wedding Crashers,” and “The Ice Harvest,” fared better, but still averaged less than $22 million in 2005, said MovieGuide, which describes itself as a Christian “ministry dedicated to redeeming the values of the mass media according to biblical principles, by influencing entertainment industry executives and helping families make wise media choices.”
As the number of obscenities and profanities rose, the income dropped, it said.
The report said for one reporting period the highest average return for movies with very strong foul language, sex and nudity content was only $27.7 million, and the lowest average for a clean movie was $20.6 million.
The full range for the year in which “The Passion of the Christ” appeared was from $20.6 million to $106.3 million for movies with strong Christian worldviews. For the typically non-family-oriented flick the full range was from $6.3 million to $27.7 million.
“The vast majority of moviegoers, which includes the 141 million Americans who go to church every week, prefer positive Christian movies with morally uplifting content,” the report said.
“If Hollywood executives and filmmakers want to make more money at the box office, they should make more movies that reflect a very strong Christian worldview with very strong moral values,” the study said.
The assessment divided movies into four categories: very strong Christian and redemptive worldview, movies with extreme foul language, movies with strong graphic sexual immorality, and movies with strong explicit nudity.
In that order, 2005 movies averaged $65 million, $24 million, $11 million and $11 million at the box office. The Christian worldview was at $106 million in 2004, but the other three categories dropped to $23 million, $6 million and $6 million.
Results for the latter three categories remained reasonably static over the decade of observation, but the movies with strong moral content have continued to rise from the first year’s $32 million average, the report said.