G-rated “Ratatouille” was among the box office winners in 2007
More than 20 years of data is in – and the conventional wisdom is wrong.
The chances a Hollywood movie will win big at the box office are greatly enhanced by a family-friendly rating and strong moral content, defying the notion the entertainment industry is merely serving up what consumers want when they produce so many R-rated movies full of foul language, sex, drugs and immorality, shows a new study by the Christian Film and Television Commission, publishers of Movieguide.
According to the study, G-rated movies averaged nearly $92.2 million, more than 438 percent better than R-rated movies, making only $17.1 million.
“Our annual report to Hollywood shows once again, with relevant financial statistics, that people, including most moviegoers, want good to conquer evil, truth to triumph over falsehood, justice to prevail over injustice and beauty to overcome ugliness,” explains Ted Baehr, the president of the group. “They also want to take their whole family to the movies more often (assuming, of course, that ticket prices, concession prices and gasoline prices don’t get too high or prohibitive). And they want to see their religious faith respected and celebrated.”
Last year, seven films with a G or PG rating earned more than $100 million at the domestic box office, and three PG-rated films (“Shrek the Third,” $322 million; “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” $216 million; and “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” $213 million) were among the year’s top 10 earners.
Only one R-rated film made the top 10, and it was No. 10, “300,” with earnings of $210 million.
No. 11 on the list was G-rated “Ratatouille” with $206 million.
Baehr points out that since Movieguide began drawing attention to the positive films at an annual Faith & Values Awards gala, the number of movies with at least some positive Christian, biblical or moral content has increased overall from 18.3 percent in 1991 to 61.1 percent last year. That, he notes, is a 238 percent increase.
“Major Hollywood studio executives are finally getting the message that movies with positive Christian, moral content are great for business,” the report says.
The formula not only works in the U.S., it works in the overseas markets as well, Baehr says.
In 2007, the study reports, “movies with strong or very strong Christian, biblical or moral content made 74 percent of the money of all top 10 grossing movies overseas combined.” The report also says movies with some of that content earned 93 percent of the money of all top 20 grossing movies combined.
The report adds that 90 percent of the top 20 movies overseas had no graphic sexual content and no homosexual content or references, while 85 percent had no explicit nudity.
Baehr says the same trends apply consistently in home video sales and rentals, though statistics for 2007 films are not included in the study.