LifeWay Research: Movie Audiences Want to See More Faith-Based Films at Box Office

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Hollywood’s “year of the Bible movie” continues to drive sales at the box office in 2014, according to a study by LifeWay Research.

Four faith-based films have already earned more than $50 million each in ticket sales, according to Boxofficemojo.com. Those films — “Noah,” “Heaven is for Real,” “Son of God,” and “God’s Not Dead” — are among the top 20 grossing films of 2014.

And movie audiences may want more, a survey of 1,054 Americans from Nashville-based LifeWay Research revealed. Researchers found that half of Americans (56 percent) say they wish there were more movies with Christian values.

“Faith-based movies are no longer a niche,” Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, said. “It’s smart economics — if you make a film that appeals to that audience, they will show up.”

Movies with an explicitly Christian message — like “God’s Not Dead” — have done especially well. The independent film was made for $2 million and has earned more than $59 million at the box office. That’s more than high-budget projects like “Muppets Most Wanted” or the critically acclaimed “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

Kris Fuhr, founder of Moviegal Marketing, said Christian movie fans want films with a clear presentation of faith. That’s been true in the past for films like “Fireproof” and “Courageous,” as well as more recent movies like “Son of God.”

“When you have a movie where the title is almost a doctrinal statement — the audience will come out,” she said. “People want their faith to be affirmed.” Films with a more subtle faith message may not do as well, Fuhr said.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Bob Smietana

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