Hollywood is beginning to notice there are still quite a few people left who are interested in uplifting and edifying entertainment:
Given the crop of projects being shopped at the Cannes film market that features Christian-themed narratives — notably An Interview With God, Samson and God Bless the Broken Road — and with Wim Wenders’ doc Pope Francis: A Man of His Word playing as an official selection at the festival, there are signs that fare once ignored by international buyers and Cannes programmers is receiving a warm welcome…
“When I was first approached to take on [An Interview With God], I felt reluctant because I thought, ‘Oh my God, there really isn’t an evangelical community outside of the United States,’” says Wander. “But we’ve been getting interest from places like China — I never would have thought that — Japan, the U.K., spots that typically don’t respond to these kinds of films.”
One has to be careful here, because what Hollywood calls “faith-based” is often over-the-top heretical and completely un-Biblical (see: Noah). That said, recent films like Paul – Apostle of Christ are showing it doesn’t take a large bankroll to produce a film worth seeing, particularly when one stays respectful of the source material. When such films triple their production budget in ticket receipts, even secular (but profit-minded) Hollywood begins to take note.
This is one reason it’s critical Christians are careful with our entertainment vote, which consists of how we choose to spend our money. Noah only made money because of the overseas market – it would have been a flop on domestic tickets alone. While Hollywood knows the overseas market is lucrative, the experience with Noah will give them pause. Similarly, A Wrinkle In Time, which largely abandoned what Christian influence was in the original book, has also underwhelmed at the box office (and is rumored to have lost $100 million for Disney).
There is great potential here. Moviemakers who desire to honor God with their work have raised their game, rising above some of the cheesy stereotypes of their past efforts. If Hollywood decides this is a financially winning formula, it’s possible they’ll support these projects, even if they personally disdain the worldview involved. I don’t expect Hollywood to become a source of evangelical proselytizing. But moving the window closer to God’s perspective would be a great development for our culture. He can speak even through the unlikeliest of messengers.
Consider that seriously when you choose your entertainment. Are you helping to strengthen our mass media culture, or going along with its slide?