By Dan Wooding, Founder of the ASSIST News Service
HOLLYWOOD, CA (ANS – Feb. 18, 2016) – Media expert, Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of Movieguide®, has a message for Hollywood. “If you want to make more money, make more faith and family films,” he says.
Making his Annual Report to the entertainment industry at the 24th Annual Movieguide® Faith & Values Gala, on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Hollywood, Dr. Baehr told the star-studded audience, “The evidence is abundantly clear. Moviegoers greatly prefer family-friendly movies.”
He noted that the Annual Report, now in its 24th year, doesn’t just examine family movies and cartoons for children, but family-friendly movies with the cleanest, most inspiring, and least offensive content.
“Most people want to see Good conquer evil, Truth triumph over falsehood, Justice prevail over injustice, Liberty conquer tyranny, and Beauty overcome ugliness,” he added. “They also would like to take their whole family, including their grandparents, to the movies more often.”
The study also found that movies released in 2015 with no sex, no explicit nudity and no foul language averaged much more money than movies with such content.
An annual box office analysis by Baehr’s respected pro-family advocacy group catering to families has found once again that the most family-friendly movies with the most inspiring, cleanest content earn more money at the box office and on home video.
The 2016 Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry by the Movieguide® shows that the most family-friendly movies averaged more than $73.01 million per movie in 2014 in America and Canada, but that the least family-friendly movies with the most offensive, obscene, or anti-family, immoral content averaged only about $17.59 million.
R-rated movies fared almost as poorly, averaging only $17.67 million per movie.
The study extensively analyzed the content of the top movies released by the major studios in Hollywood earning $750,000 or more, including the major independent studios.
Before he delivered his report, I was able to interview Dr. Baehr on the Red Carpet, and he spoke initially about the lack of diversity again in this year’s Oscar nominations. For the second year in a row, people of color were shut out of the acting categories, and all of the best picture contenders focus on stories about white people, while films likeSTRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON and CREEDgot the cold shoulder.
But Movieguide® lineup was filled with many actors and actresses of color, including David Oyelowo, born in Nigeria and raised in England, who was there representing the film CAPTIVE, in which he played alongside Kate Mara. Among many others, was the African-American cast of WAR ROOM, which received the $100,000 Epiphany Prize for the Most Inspiring Movie of 2015 with Stephen Kendrick receiving the prize on stage.
“It’s nice that we have so much diversity here,” said Dr. Baehr. “For instance, I’m being interviewed by an African-American (laughs) who is one of my favorite journalists. He was born in Nigeria [of British missionary parents). Dan, you’re a missionary kid, so you’re probably the only MK here in the whole audience, so this is great.”
He went onto say, “In my presentation, I’m going to tell them that family films did better than the others. In fact, 90% of the top grossing films had a strong Christian moral biblical world view. None that were rated R were even in the top ten. Also, none were anti-American in the top ten, and 80% of the movies overseas had a strong Christian world view. So for the umpteenth year the movies with faith values did better at the box office and that’s really because of the people in the audience that are doing great movies with great faith and great values.”
I then asked Dr. Baehr if he was amazed that the event, also known as the Christian Oscars, was still going after all these years?
“I am amazed,” he said. I’m amazed not only that we are still going, but also that we’re growing by leaps and bounds. You know that there’s less room on the red carpet there’s less room in the building. Last year, we even had Stevie Wonder calling the day before and saying, “I want to come and be part of the tribute to Andraé Crouch.”
I then asked him what he would say to the people who still want to throw stones at Hollywood?
“That’s a good idea,” he laughed. “You know there are a lot of people in Hollywood who do that themselves — get stoned.”
Then he added with a more serious tone, “The other people of faith and values are growing by leaps and bounds; and we should love them and embrace them and help them to succeed at the box office. We’ve seen just tremendous revival in Hollywood. We’ve seen it go from one movie with positive Christian content to 55, to 60% so we’re seeing great changes take place. And Dan you and I are probably the only ones who track this from the beginning to know what’s happened.
“There are a lot of groups praying and we need the prayer groups. There are a lot of people talking about the mountains and spheres of influence, but the fact of the matter there’s nothing better than getting in there and transforming the culture by presenting the truth of Jesus Christ, that will set you free.”
Note: I would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.
Photo captions: 1) Dan Wooding interviewing Dr. Ted Baehr. 2) David Oyelowo. 3) The cast of WAR ROOM. 4) Norma and Dan Wooding covering a previous Movieguide® Gala for ANS. (Photo: Bryan Seltzer).
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS), and is also the author of some 45 books.
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