Christian-Themed Movie Earnings Far Outstrip R-Rated Films, Study Shows

Most movie-goers would rather watch a film with a strong Christian theme than one containing explicit sex or nudity, according to a study tracking box office film earnings over the past nine years.

Christian News Today reported on the study conducted by MOVIEGUIDE®, a popular movie review service that evaluates films from a Christian perspective. The study examined more than 2,400 top-grossing films produced between 1998 and 2006, comparing the amount of money brought in by films with a Christian theme to the money earned by R-Rated movies that contained extreme sexual content, nudity and/or extreme foul language.

Christian films made at least double the amount of money brought in by explicit films, the study found, and frequently three to five times as much.

"[T]he highest and lowest averages for movies with strong or very strong Christian worldviews have ranged between $30.1 million per movie to $106.3 million per movie (the year of The Passion of the Christ)," wrote Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of MOVIEGUIDE®. "In contrast, the highest and lowest averages for movies with very strong foul language, sex, and/or nudity have been between $6.3 million per movie to $27.7 million per movie."

The discrepancy in earnings between Christian films and films with explicit content was highest in 2004, with the release of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ — the category of movies with "very strong Christian and redemptive worldview" made an average of $106,296,571 at the box office, compared to about $6 million (per category) for movies with very strong sexual immorality or movies with very strong explicit nudity. Movies in the category of extreme foul language brought in $23 million in 2004.

Even in years without such dramatic differences in earnings, Christian-themed movies with a redemptive worldview drew more than double the viewers than movies with extreme foul language, and more than three times the amount of films with strong sexual immorality.

"For example, in 2006, movies with a very strong Christian worldview, such as Superman Returns, The Nativity Story, Rocky Balboa, and Facing the Giants, averaged $39 million at the box office," wrote Dr. Baehr, "but movies with extreme, explicit sex, nudity and/or obscenity, such as Clerks 2, The Black Dahlia, Saw III, Hostel, Another Gay Movie, and The Departed, averaged only $9 million, $16.1 million and $23 million."

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