Much to Hollywood’s surprise this weekend, the football film “The Blind Side” did an end run around the vampire flick, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” which had dominated the box office for two weeks. The faith-filled sports movie brought in $20.4 million in the third weekend of their box-office run compared to $15.7 million for “New Moon.”
“We predicted this success for ‘The Blind Side,’” says Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE®. “When you take a great story that has terrific faith content and combine it with excellent filmmaking, you have a hit on your hands.”
Today’s box-office pundits always look to the opening weekend to be the “do or die” scenario for a movie. Conventional wisdom says that a slow opening weekend spells disaster. Sometimes, however, movies grow by word of mouth and achieve higher numbers than those that are out of the gate quickly.
“The Blind Side” found itself in the enviable position of being the number-one movie in the country in its third week of release.
“The Blind Side” is not the first movie to grow over time during this holiday movie season.
Last month, Disney’s “A Christmas Carol,” an extremely redemptive, faith-filled movie starring Jim Carrey, opened “soft” to a lower-than-expected $30 million. Many critics and armchair Hollywood analysts said this meant a bomb.
Yet Disney’s strategy of opening a Christmas movie the first weekend in November has paid off as word of mouth has continued to bring families to the story of Scrooge as Christmas Day approaches. To date, “A Christmas Carol” has brought in over $115 million, and it’s still in theaters!
“The funny thing is,” Baehr says, “people in Hollywood will still say that ‘The Blind Side’ is successful because it’s a sports movie or because it’s about an inner-city youth or something and miss the point that it’s a story of sacrifice motivated by a strong Christian faith. That’s what’s making people tell their friends to go see it.”
Baehr presents the Report to the Entertainment Industry each February at MOVIEGUIDE’s annual gala. Year after year the evidence is overwhelming that movies with strong Christian, redemptive elements and/or faith-filled characters excel at the box office.
According to the nonprofit family guide to movies and entertainment’s 2009 Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry of 2008 movies, movies with very strong Christian, biblical and/or moral worldviews did five to 33 times better at the theatrical box office in America and Canada in 2008 than movies with very strong secular-humanist, nihilistic, anti-Christian and/or anti-biblical worldviews.
The movies with very strong Christian, biblical and/or moral worldviews included such movies as “Prince Caspian,” “Fireproof,” “Bolt,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “High School Musical 3,” “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” “House,” “Tyler Perry’s the Family that Preys,” “Expelled,” “Defiance,” “The Tale of Desperaux,” “The Longshots,” “Rambo,” “Valkyrie,” “Gran Torino,” and “Frozen River.”
The movies with very strong secular-humanist, nihilistic, anti-Christian, and/or anti-biblical worldviews included such movies as “Wanted,” “Standard Operating Procedure,” “Chicago 10,” “Religulous,” “Saw V,” “Brideshead Revisited,” “Hamlet 2,” “Hounddog” and “Bloodline.”
According to MOVIEGUIDE, if you separate the three movies with very strong anti-Christian and anti-biblical worldviews (“Hamlet 2,” “Hounddog” and “Bloodline”), the movies with positive worldviews did 33 times better.
Worldviews in conflict
What about previous years?
Even there too, people prefer movies with very strong Christian, biblical and moral worldviews, as shown by the following 5 Year and 10 Year charts.
For these charts, MOVIEGUIDE added all the other movies with very strong non-Christian worldviews, including worldviews promoting other religions, not just ones that attacked religion in general, promoted secular humanism or overtly mocked God, Jesus Christ and/or the Bible.
“Hollywood should make more movies like ‘The Blind Side,’ ‘Prince Caspian,’ ‘Fireproof,’ and ‘The Passion of the Christ’ if they want to do well at the box office,” said Baehr, who leads MOVIEGUIDE’s annual study.
Dr. Baehr will reveal the highlights of the 2010 Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry at the 18th Annual MOVIEGUIDE Faith & Values Awards Gala in Beverly Hills on Feb. 23, 2010.
MOVIEGUIDE’s review of “The Blind Side,” including exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews with cast, can be found at the MOVIEGUIDE website.
Jeff Holder is managing editor of MOVIEGUIDE®.