Tuesday, May 6, 2014

You're Doing It Wrong (w/ an Update)

If you've noted my flick picks, particularly around Christmas and Easter, you may have noted no shortage of movies coming from a traditional Judeo-Christian religious perspective. Not terribly shocking, even for Hollywood, since the movie business is 10% movies, and 90% business. Until someone let the morons in to run the place in the last 20 years.

So let's play "How To Lose A Ton Of Money And Piss Off Your Audience (Or Not)".

Exhibit A:
Item: Groundhog Day, the late Harold Ramis' spiritual tale of redemption (given enough chances), specifically no religious view, but wholeheartedly embraced by every one of them.
Production budget: $14.6M
Gross: $71M(domestic)

Exhibit B: 2004
Item: The Passion Of The Christ, Mel Gibson's lifelong dream project of making an accurate portrayal of Christ's last hours on earth, according to the New Testament. Turned down by every studio on the planet, he bankrolled it himself.
Production budget: $30M
Gross: $611M

Exhibit C: Late Fall, 2008

Item: Religulous, Bill Maher's anti-religious screed posing as documentary.
Production budget: $2.5M
Gross $13M

Item: Fireproof, blatantly Christian movie, the third produced by Sherwood Baptist Church in tiny Albany, GA on a comparative shoestring.
Production budget: $500K
Gross: $33M

In fact, it not only trounced Maher's offal, it made more in 2 weeks' release than his flick made total, and beat it week in and week out at the box office during their near simultaneous releases.

Exhibit D: Now

Item: Noah, purportedly the story of Noah and the Ark, yet somehow transmogrified into a tale completely devoid of God, such that even the presence of Russell Crowe couldn't keep it afloat.
Production budget: $125M
Gross (to date): $99M domestic, $332M total
At this rate, it will be out on video by Memorial Day, and if it wasn't for foreign box office, Russell Crowe would be looking for a new career.

Item: Heaven Is For Real, Randall Wallace's pro-Christian outlook film with exactly that premise.
Production budget: $12M
Gross (over two weeks so far): $66M

Item: God Is Not Dead, independent drama with that exact premise.
Production budget: $2M
Gross: $56M

Item: Son Of God, a film made from a miniseries dramatization about the life of Jesus, first aired on the History channel.
Production budget: $22M
Gross: $59M

In short, anti-religious movies may eventually make 3x their budgets.
Pro-Christian/pro-faith movies, even cinematically mediocre ones, tend to make 3x-200x their original budgets.


If Hollywood in general wants to play both sides to make sure no dollar in someone's pocket goes uncollected, I can understand that.
But you'd think they'd be looking for the next authentic Bible story a la The Passion Of The Christ if they were actually committed to making money, and maybe trying a bit harder to not offend the people who show up in droves when someone doesn't insult everything they hold dear, or even >gasp!< actually play to it when it's appropriate to the story.

Just a thought.

UPDATE: But you don't have to just take my word for it.

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