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Christians Who Want Moral Entertainment Must Be More Willing to Support It


A recent survey finds that most people are tired of the religious stereotypes, religious bigotry, and dystopian, negative, and woke themes that dominate movies and television today.

If you’re tired of the stereotypes and tropes Hollywood uses to portray those who are religious, you aren’t alone. According to a recent study, the majority around the world say that those responsible for creating movies and tv shows should start depicting religious adherents more faithfully.

The Global Faith and Entertainment Study surveyed nearly 10,000 people from 11 different countries and 9 separate belief systems on this topic, and 63 percent believe that entertainment perpetuates religious stereotypes.

The majority of those surveyed also said that entertainment follows the same storyline over and over when it comes to religious groups. Somewhat comically when asked about Christianity, 56 percent of non-Christians thought entertainment only portrayed one storyline compared to 53 percent of Christians.

The survey was conducted among countries with a widely divergent percentage of religious residents — the highest being Nigeria at 96 percent and Japan the lowest at 28 percent — but there were a few things the countries all shared: They watch a lot of television and movies, and they think entertainment should do a better job accurately representing religious groups.

On average, 53 percent of those surveyed said they watch TV or movies every day or almost every day — but wish the entertainment offered more positive themes, including faith and religion. They also believe it is very important that media producers accurately portray those who are religious.

The study showed that among the most common themes in media, conflict ranks at No. 3,  power at No. 4, and war comes in 7th place. Faith and religion was ranked 13th among the most common themes in media.

Meanwhile, when respondents were asked what they desired to see most the answers were overwhelmingly positive: power came in 13th place, war was14th, and conflict was16th; meanwhile faith and religion came in 6th.

The survey found that 80 percent of participants said it’s important that the entertainment industry provide accurate portrayals of religious characters. Most said that media should enlist expert consultants and write more diverse characters.

The survey also interviewed directors, producers, writers, actors, and studio executives regarding faith in entertainment. The interviewees’ quotes were given anonymously in the study.

One director and producer said that Hollywood doesn’t recognize the desire for spiritual content. That person would also like more faith-based shows. “I think it creates a large audience that feels under seen, and under celebrated, which I think on the one hand is a business opportunity. But I also think it’s a moral obligation to represent society.”

The recent success of movies such as “The Sound of Freedom,” which shocked Hollywood by bringing in $250 million at the box office despite only having a $14.5 million budget, and “Jesus Revolution,” which grossed over $54 million with a $15 million budget, may be sending a message that Hollywood has neglected a potential audience.

Meanwhile, woke blockbusters from behemoth studios have continued to flop. Disney admitted after numerous bombs at the box office that its commitment to woke ideology has put it out of touch with consumers.

“We face risks relating to misalignment with public and consumer tastes and preferences for entertainment, travel and consumer products, which impact demand for our entertainment offerings and products and the profitability of any of our businesses,” the company wrote in recent financial filings. “Further, consumers’ perceptions of our position on matters of public interest, including our efforts to achieve certain of our environmental and social goals, often differ widely and present risks to our reputation and brands.”

It isn’t just Disney that’s bombing at the box office. Warner Bros. Discovery stock has also dropped, likely as a result of disappointing releases “The Color Purple” and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.” “The Color Purple,” a musical remake of the 1985 film of the same title, itself an adaptation of a 1983 best-selling book, made only $68 million against a budget of $100 million. While the climate-change peddling Aquaman did make money, bringing in $433 million against a budget of $215 million, it was significantly less than the worldwide box office take of its 2018 predecessor, which grossed more than $1.1 billion.

Sony’s “Madame Web,” a superhero film also flopped at the box office. The production budget for the movie was somewhere between $80 and $100 million, and the company is said to have poured tens of millions of dollars into its promotion, but so far it has just barely broken even.

Hollywood has been grasping at straws for its failures at the box office in the last four years. Among the excuses: “Americans aren’t going to the movies anymore because of Covid”; “superhero-fatigue”; and “Americans are just too misogynistic and racist to watch diverse movies.”

It’s not that people aren’t going to the movies anymore. Remember how “Top Gun: Maverick” grossed nearly $719 million domestically and nearly $1.5 billion worldwide in 2022? It’s certainly not “superhero-fatigue” because in 2021 Spider-Man: No Way Home grossed almost $805 million domestically and $1.9 billion worldwide, while in 2023 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 took in almost $359 million domestically and more than $845 million worldwide. And it isn’t that Americans are too racist and misogynistic, because in 2018 the highest grossing movie at nearly $1.4 billion was Black Panther, which had a predominantly black cast.

Admittedly, the struggle at the box office cannot be completely attributed to “Go woke, go broke” since Barbie grossed more than $636 million in the U.S. and $1.4 billion worldwide last year.

There is a correlation, however, between movie studios’ leftward surge and commercial failure. Many consumers are tired of supporting companies that actively champion values they oppose or denigrate those of consumers. Disney’s streaming service Disney Plus has been hemorrhaging customers, many of those due to its controversial stances.

There is hope, though, that the entertainment industry could finally be recognizing the need for a different type of movie or TV show. For example, the recent movie “Ordinary Angels” starred two-time Academy Award winner Hillary Swank and Alan Ritchson, star of the Amazon Prime show “Reacher,” as its leads.

Film producer Andy Erwin told the Christian Post, “I think it’s really a moment in time where there’s been a group of individuals that have all been trying to work behind the scenes to tell stories of faith. But collectively, whether it’s through ‘The Chosen’ or ‘Sound of Freedom,’ or what we did with ‘Jesus Revolution,’ all of a sudden, it’s been legitimized.” 

“We’re so grateful to have a partner in Lionsgate that has really invested so many resources into this community to tell stories that are mainstream relatable. So to have a two-time Oscar winner like Hillary Swank, to have Alan Ritchson, who’s one of the hottest actors on the planet right now, both telling a story of faith and doing it unapologetically — that’s what we’ve worked for, and it’s being heard by the industry. As we support these films in the theaters, there’s an opportunity for the movies to get bigger and bigger,” Erwin continued.

But there is the key: “as we support these films in theaters.”

In other words, if you want to see uplifting, positive, faith-based movies, then you have to prove it by actually paying to watch them.

“You need to demonstrate there’s a marketplace for it… once they realize it’s a real marketplace, people dive into it…if they can make a profit off it, they’ll do more of it,” as one of the participants in the Global Faith and Entertainment survey stated.

Money talks. It is certainly true that there are zealots and opportunists eager to push radically left agendas on consumers, but it is also true that most are in it to make a living and to make a profit. And that includes those leftists who are becoming frustrated by the sound of empty coffers as their woke products flop at the box office.

It’s up to Christians and conservatives to help change the types of content that are produced. Go see faith-friendly movies at the movie theater. Pay for subscriptions to family-friendly channels like PureFlix, Angel Studios, and others. Refuse to watch television shows or films with excessive cussing, nudity or sexual situations, or that promote left-wing dogma. You can even write your own stories and engage in the creative sphere.

That’s the power of the free market, and only when we engage with it by supporting the kind of content that we demand and enjoy will we see more of it produced.

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