GUEST EDITORIAL

TEN YEAR STUDY SHOWS THAT MOVIEGOERS WANT POSITIVE MOVIES
Sex, obscenity, nudity and violence don't sell as well

 
by Tom Snyder, Special to ASSIST News Service

HOLLYWOOD, CA (ANS)—A new 10-year study tracking the content of theatrical movies proves that moviegoers want positive, uplifting movies without graphic sex, obscenity, nudity, and violence. It also shows that family-friendly movies and movies with strong redemptive or even Christian content make the most money on average.

The Christian Film and Television Commission computed the box office earnings and content of more than 2,500 movies over the past 10 years, from 1991 to 2000.

In the last ten years, the number of movies with positive moral content has increased from 68 such movies in 1991 to 179 such movies in 2000, an increase of 163 percent. Furthermore, the number of movies with spiritually uplifting, redemptive and/or Christian content increased from a mere 27 in 1991 to 118 in 2000, an incredible 337 percent increase (see table below). Clearly, Hollywood has started to respond favorably to the demand for better, higher quality movies with positive moral and spiritual values.

  NUMBER OF MOVIES WITH POSITIVE MORAL CONTENT NUMBER OF MOVIES WITH POSITIVE SPIRITUAL CONTENT
1991 68 out of 260 movies or 26% 27 out of 260 movies or 10%
2000 179 out of 288 movies or 62%
A 163% Increase
118 out of 288 movies or 41%
A 337% Increase

In the last five years, the number of movies with at least some positive moral content has risen from 87 movies in 1996 to 179 in 2000, an increase of 106 percent. During that same period, the number of movies with at least some positive redemptive or Christian content has risen from 77 movies in 1996 to 118 movies in 2000, an increase of 53 percent (see table below).

  NUMBER OF MOVIES WITH POSITIVE MORAL CONTENT NUMBER OF MOVIES WITH POSITIVE SPIRITUAL CONTENT
1996 87 out of 272 movies or 32% 77 out of 272 movies or 28%
2000 179 out of 288 movies or 62%
A 106% Increase
118 out of 288 movies or 41%
A 53% Increase

MORAL, CHRISTIAN MOVIES EARN THE MOST MONEY

Just as interesting as these figures is what happened in 2000 to movies, which had a very strong moral and/or biblical worldview, and to movies, which had a very strong redemptive and/or Christian worldview. Movies in these categories didn't just have strong moral, biblical, redemptive, and/or Christian content, their whole point of view and philosophy was almost completely moral, biblical, redemptive, and/or Christian.

Thus, 2000 movies with a very strong moral and/or biblical worldview consistently, and significantly, outperformed movies with a very strong pagan, Rousseauian romantic, humanist, homosexual, or Communist worldview (see chart below).

The numbers were even more striking for movies which have a strong or very strong redemptive and/or Christian worldview. This means that the movie's whole point of view and philosophy was strongly, or almost completely, Christian and redemptive.

Thus, movies with a very strong Christian and redemptive worldview, including films like THE PATRIOT, THE BASKET, REMEMBER THE TITANS, and MERCY STREETS, earned far more money on average in 2000 ($42,882,055) than movies with a very strong pagan, Rousseauian romantic, humanist, homosexual, or Communist worldview (see chart below).

  Box Office Average

Worldview

2000

1999

Strong moral/biblical and/or very strong redemptive and/or Christian worldview Whole point of view and philosophy almost completely moral, biblical, redemptive and/or Christian Strong moral/biblical and/or very strong redemptive and/or Christian worldview Whole point of view and philosophy almost completely moral, biblical, redemptive and/or Christian
Very strong moral and/or biblical worldview $33,583,665 $42,882,055 $27,126,773 $30,135,701
 
Very strong pagan worldview $23,620,686 $15,626,251
Very strong politically correct worldview $6,819,755 $18,243,969
Very strong homosexual worldview $6,540,167 $1,422,091
Very strong secular humanist worldview $4,106,457 $12,104,047
Very strong immoral, anti-biblical, anti-Semitic, or anti-Christian worldview $2,176,096 $24,327,128
Very strong Rousseauian romanticism worldview $1,688,160 $22,346,115
Very strong Communist worldview $76,424 $0
Very strong radical environmentalist worldview $17,565 $0

SEX AND VIOLENCE DON'T ALWAYS SELL

MOVIEGUIDE®'s statistics also clearly show that movies with a very strong moral, biblical, redemptive, and/or Christian worldview also consistently outperform movies with graphic sexual immorality, explicit nudity, and, more often than not, movies with extreme foul language or excessive violence, as shown by the following tables. In fact, movies with a very strong Christian and redemptive worldview have outperformed such immoral movies 90 percent of the time over the last five years [18 times out of a possible 20 times]. Meanwhile, movies with a very strong moral and biblical worldview have outperformed such movies 85 percent of the time during that same period [17 times out of a possible 20 times].

Category

Box Office Average

Theatrical Movies Released in 2000 Theatrical Movies Released in 1999 Theatrical Movies Released in 1998 Theatrical Movies Released in 1997  Theatrical Movies Released in 1996
Very strong Christian and redemptive worldview $42,882,055 $30,135,701 $32,117,585 $20,594,696 $37,503,858
Very strong moral and/or biblical worldview $33,583,665 $27,126,773 $38,385,050 $56,493,551 $16,595,705
Movies with excessive violence $28,020,396 $29,933,907 $21,919,697 $36,843,484 $21,898,576
Movies with extreme foul language $21,884,419 $23,552,405 $18,902,784 $21,672,394 $21,564,050
Movies with strong graphic sexual immorality $15,068,855 $14,278,558 $11,647,524 $ 8,438,477 $ 6,429,246
Movies with strong explicit nudity $14,493,227 $13,227,652 $12,181,569 $ 9,929,104 $12,982,635

CONCLUSION

The Christian Film and Television Commission's statistics convincingly show that the top producers and studio executives in Hollywood are producing significantly more movies with moral and redemptive, and even Christian, content. These movies consistently earn more money at the box office than other kinds of movies, including movies with abundant and graphic sex, nudity, violence, and vulgarity.

Sex, violence, vulgarity, and immorality do not really sell as well as many people think, nor as well as the news media tries to report. That's because God is still sovereign. His abiding love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Hollywood should drastically reduce, or totally eliminate, scenes of explicit sex, violence, nudity, and vulgarity from its movies. It should go back to making the kinds of wholesome, quality movies that people really want to see.


Editor's Note: For more information about the Christian Film and Television Commission, the Commission's Annual Faith and Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry, MOVIEGUIDE®: A Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment; and, Dr. Ted Baehr's MEDIA-WISE FAMILY speaking engagements, courses, workshops, and seminars, please call (800) 899-6684, or write to P.O. Box 190010, Atlanta, GA 31119, USA.


Posted March 1, 2002.