What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
In an industry that is renowned for pushing the envelope, morality is almost taboo. Sex sells, so why sell anything but?
But conservatives have been bucking the trend. The New American carried a story last year showing the growing support base for clean movies with morals.
In fact, a close look at Hollywood’s bottom line shows that producing wholesome films is not only morally sound but financially rewarding. The outstanding success of blockbusters like the J.R.R. Tolkien Lord of the Rings fantasy trilogy and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of The Christ is not a fluke. A recent study of the box office statistics of the top 250 movies released by Hollywood shows that moviegoers not only are flocking to G- and PG-rated movies, they also want movies with strong moral messages.
The study, sponsored by the Christian Film & Television Commission ministry (CFTVC), analyzed the content and box office averages of more than 750 movies in 2004, 2003, and 2002. “Movies with strong moral messages, whether they were rated G, PG, PG-13, or R, consistently earn four to seven times as much money on average as movies with immoral messages, according to our biblical standards,” said Dr. Ted Baehr, chairman and founder of the commission.
According to the study, movies released in 2004 like The Incredibles, Spider-Man 2, The Polar Express, Shark Tale, The Passion of The Christ, Miracle, and A Cinderella Story, which contained very strong moral content, “earned nearly $106.7 million on average, more than six times as much money as movies with very strong immoral, negative content or very strong pagan, secular humanist, socialist, homosexual, occult, or anti-religious content, which averaged only $16.4 million per movie in 2004.”
Indeed, many of the most successful movies in recent years have been absent of filthy, offensive content and hence have had more sales appeal:
Furthermore, CFTVC’s annual study of the Top 10 Movies at the domestic box office in 2004, 2003, and 2002 also shows that moviegoers are seeking out family-oriented movies with traditional moral values.
For example, 96 percent of the Top 10 Movies during those years had at least some moral content in them. Also, 80 percent of the Top 10 Movies had no sexual immorality in them or only light sexual references. Finally, only one of the Top 10 Movies in 2004, 2003, or 2002 had any excessive substance abuse in them.
So sorry Hollywood, but sex doesn’t sell. Stop adding that nudity scene, stop tossing in a few gratuitous F-bombs, and stop pushing the envelope. In the end, you’re going to be the one to suffer.