Christian themed movies have long been a rarity in theaters. Hollywood rarely, if ever, focused on the Christian faith, and when it did, it was usually with negative connotations.
However, something changed in 2004 when Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ hit theaters across the United States. Churches and Christian organizations not only encouraged people to watch the film, but to also invite friends and loved ones to go with them. The movie had plenty of critics, but it earned over $370 million domestically, which makes it the highest earning R-rated movie in history.
The success of The Passion of the Christ opened the eyes of filmmakers in Hollywood. Christians make up a large portion of the U.S. population, and many of them, myself included, tend to stay away from certain movies and television shows that oppose our beliefs. Like anyone else, Christians aren’t going to throw away money watching films that don’t appeal to them. That doesn’t mean that Christians don’t enjoy movies. I have a large film collection at home, and taking my wife out for a movie remains one of my favorite activities. It’s all about finding films that fit our tastes.
More recently, the continued success of recent Christian themed movies like Facing the Giants, Fireproof and Courageous have set the table for what we’re seeing now. All of these films have been highly profitable because their studios understand simple economics. There has long been a demand for movies that Christians would want to see, and now filmmakers are finally seeking to meet that demand.
There have already been three financially successful Christian themed movies released this year, not to mention Russell Crowe’s Noah, which is loosely based on the account of Noah found in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. With Left Behind and Exodus on their way to theaters later this year, I don’t expect this move towards Christian themed movies to end any time soon. Instead, look for the genre to grow throughout the next few years.
Christians are just like most other Americans. They love movies, and it’s about time that Hollywood opened its eyes to that fact. Studios have been missing their chance to earn a profit from Christian moviegoers for far too long.