Family-friendly and faith-based movies make money. If Hollywood wants to make money it should make more of them.
That’s a simple truth argued by Ted Baehr, the editor and publisher of Movieguide, the website that offers coverage of Hollywood from a conservative Christian perspective. Each year Baher presents the Movieguide Awards, given to films that uphold traditional values. This year’s took place in February and will be broadcast on the Reelz Channel on April 1st, Easter Sunday, at 4 pm EST.
“[Viewers] can expect the absolute opposite of the Oscars, Golden Globes, the Critic’s Choice,” Baehr says of this year’s Moviguide Awards. “We award movies that are transformational, movies that are uplifting, movies that are good for families, that are good for individuals who want their lives to get better, who want their jobs to get better. We want to show people movies that can make a tremendous difference in their lives and help them to grow in faith and values.”
As an example of a conservative movie that becomes a hit, Baher cites the 2017 film “Boss Baby.” which won the award for Best Movie for Families. “‘Boss Baby’ says babies come from heaven,” he says, “which of course we learned from the psalms, and that Jesus is the boss, and that the adversary is trying to keep people from having babies. It made $490 million at the box office. The director [Tom McGrath] came to receive his award and talked about how intentional he was at restoring sanctity of life and resorting faith and values to familes”
Baehr regularly meets with studio executives to talk about the large faith based and conservative audience. “We show them how much money the movies can make if you put faith and values in it. We do that with the Marvel people…We say, ‘Do you want make money or loose money at the box office? Do you want your grandmother to come, and your kids to come, and your wife to come and not feel uncomfortable?’”
Baehr notes that on an average week, 23-26 million people go to movies and 118-141 million people go to church. Recently the Christian film “I Can Only Imagine” surprised Hollywood when it made $17 million on its first weekend. The film is one in a series over the last several years, including “God’s Not Dead” and “Heaven is for Real,” that have made large profits.”The church audience is five to seven times bigger than the movie audience, and [the church audience] buys more tickets,” he says. “We’re just telling [Hollywood], here’s a marketplace you can reach.”
Baehr also notes that Hollywood is hypocritical, speaking out for gun control while flooding the culture with movies featuring guns. “Ninety percent of the movie executives think that movies with gun violence promote gun violence, and yet they continue to make movies with gun violence. This is a dual standard, this is hypocrisy, this is a double-standard. There are two ways to attract an audience, one is a really funny, well made, terrific script like ‘Despicable Me 3’ or ‘Paddington 2.’ or ‘Frozen.’ which is about the four loves…and is like reading C.S. Lewis. Those movies do very well. The other way to attract an audience, and you get a much smaller audience, is the lure of cheap sex and violence.”
He adds that Hollywood is "going to say now that they’re opposed to all of the sexual abuse, and yet movie after movie…is about sexual abuse. When are they going to stop it? It’s complete duplicity."