In the wake of the Noah film's failure to resonate with Bible-believing moviegoers, new concerns are being raised about the new movie based in part of the life of Moses, as the so-called "Year of the Bible Movie" enters its final phase.
Part of the concern about EXODUS: Gods and Kings, which releases Dec. 12, is that director Ridley Scott has cast a child in the role of the voice of God. This comes on top of the kerfuffle raised by actor Christian Bale a few weeks ago when he characterized Moses, whom he plays in the film, as both "barbaric" and "schizophrenic."
In early October, Faith Driven Consumer released the first wave of results from an extensive new national survey—conducted by partner research firm American Insights—detailing what EXODUS needs to do to be successful with the U.S. Christian (77% of U.S. adult population) audience. That research can be seen here.
Now, The Hollywood Reporter has a story featured on The Drudge Report detailing two points of significant concern: Scott reveals that the voice of God is played by a young boy, and a consultant to the film admits "they went off the biblical text" in making EXODUS.
"Each new detail on EXODUS diminishes our hopes that the film will resonate with faith and secular audiences alike," said Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer and certified brand strategist. "Consumers don't object to filmmakers taking artistic license—they expect that—but they strongly object to deviations that fundamentally undercut the core biblical story and message.
"Using the voice of a child for God the Father is a primary example; it will likely offend millions around the world. It's gross miscasting, the biblical equivalent of choosing an old woman to play Harry Potter. Fans would say, 'Harry Potter is a young boy, why did you make that choice? I'm gonna sit this one out.' Our research indicates EXODUS is no different."
"The admission that EXODUS strays from the biblical text, claiming that the Bible is 'very terse' affords another such example. Any casual reader of the Scriptures understands clearly that there is a great level of detail about this story. It's not difficult to get the basic elements right. Key elements of a story matter, just as its fundamental message matters," Stone added.
"From available media accounts, and what we are being told privately from insiders, EXODUS is on track to be the next Noah. If that is true, it's unfortunate for the audience, the investors and the studio. ... The film's likely performance will leave millions on the table because it is neither true to the letter and spirit of the text."
The data on EXODUS comes from an American Insights survey for Christian News Service/NICAEA, which was conducted in early May on a nationally representative sample of 1,200 adults in the United States. The survey was administered by landline phone (50%), cell phone (20%) and online (30%). The margin of error is plus-or-minus 2.8%.
U.S. adult and U.S. Christian market views on EXODUS:
- Seventy-four percent of all adults would be likely (36 percent very likely) to see EXODUS if it accurately portrays the biblical account of Moses leading the Jewish people out of captivity. However, 68 percent of all adults would be unlikely (46 percent very unlikely) to see the film if it does not accurately portray the Bible.
- Eighty percent of Christians would be likely (41 percent very likely) to see EXODUS if it accurately portrays the biblical account. However, 69 percent of Christians overall would be unlikely (47 percent very unlikely) to see EXODUS if it does not accurately portray the Bible.
- Eighty-four percent of Protestants overall would be likely to see an accurate EXODUS, while 70 percent would be unlikely to see an inaccurate depiction.
- Seventy-five percent of Catholics overall would be likely to see an accurate EXODUS, while 67 percent would be unlikely to see an inaccurate version of the story.
- Eighty-four percent of people for whom religion is extremely important would be likely to see an accurate EXODUS, while 74 percent would be unlikely to see the film if it does not accurately portray the biblical story.
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