Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Top Ten Christian Genre Films: My Response

In this article I will be giving my thoughts on this list of the top-grossing Christian genre films of all time:

 Box Office Mojo: "Christian Movies at the Box Office"

Let me introduce you to the most popular Christian themed movies of all time: The top four on this list are 

Lucy and Mr Tumnus in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

These movies' place on this list are no surprise. Aside from The Passion, which was funded by Mel Gibson as I understand, the other three are multi-million-dollar-budget movies funded by Disney, Walden Media, Fox and Dune Entertainment. So with marketing budgets 10 times as large as most independent film budgets in their entirety, it is no surprise they can take in over $1.6 billion as a series, worldwide. The Narnia movies are also based on a successful book series known worldwide - and not only known in church circles, but to most people.

Next :

These three films were all released in 2014. Together they brought in $210 million for their studios - including Fox and Sony. These movies represent the maturity in the current Christian independent film industry. PureFlix, producers of God's Not Dead, has already released dozens of small budget movies for the Christian market. And this year they were somehow able to draw the crowds (and $60 million).

The marketers of Heaven is For Real initially thought the ceiling for a film like this could be $50 million, after the release of Courageous in 2011 only brought in $34 million. I am sure they are pleased that their expectation was exceeded by almost double.

Number 8 - Soul Surfer - is in the same category as these 3 mentioned above, and released by the same company as Heaven is for Real (number 5) and Courageous (number 10). This made a healthy $43 million.

The odd one out here is the Christmas-themed The Nativity Story, produced by New Line Cinema in the wake of The Passion of the Christ to cash in on this new-found Christian audience. Perhaps missing the mark in a few places (the films mood and pace are two issues), this film was most likely a loss for the studio, despite it's place in the Top 10.

The gloomy feel of The Nativity Story at time let it down.

A few notes - it's not usually all about the money for me, however in the entertainment industry, if a product doesn't sell, there will not be further opportunities for similar products to be produced. And a well told story deserves to be seen by many (hence why many Christian produced films should not be popular).

I am encouraged to see where this movement will go. Here's hoping we see lives and hearts changed by the stories that are told.