You know how much movies influence our culture. And I'm sure you are aware that Hollywood is definitely not Christian, and yet there's light in the darkness. Movieguide Publisher Dr. Ted Baehr says there are exciting things happening in Hollywood that have potential to shift our culture.
I recently invited Baehr, who is also the chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, onto my "Strang Report" podcast. He says we are seeing more positive portrayals of Christians in movies than we have in a long time. (Listen to my previous interview with Baehr about the impact of faith-based films in Hollywood.)
Some of the major Blockbusters of this year have portrayed traditional marriage in a positive light. For instance, in How to Train Your Dragon, the protagonist must become a man—that is, learn to be courageous and stand up for others—in order to get married. You can see the same godly theme in this year's Lego Movie, Toy Story and even Dumbo.
"Some of these movies are over a billion dollars at the box office," Baehr tells me. "Almost all these people behind the movies are people who know us, people who have come to our gala, people who have heard our statistics that 125 million people go to church every week and that only 25 million people go to movies."
Baehr says when he started, there were only six movies with positive family content. Now, though, there are a flood of those types of films. There are also many more blatantly Christian films. Alex and Stephen Kendrick's Overcomer movie is performing very well, Baehr says:
"Every one of their movies gets better. I think Overcomer is absolutely superb. And it's doing very well at the box office. Everybody I know in the industry thinks it's absolutely superb. He's done a good job. There's a lot of gospel in it, but the fabric of the drama is the gospel and it's got humor in it."
Another wonderful overtly Christian film that came out this year is Breakthrough, which actually won an award for Best Inspirational Film of the Year at the GMA Dove Awards. (Be sure to listen to my interviews with Joyce Smith and her son, John, as well as my take on the miraculous resurrection that took place four years ago.)
Baehr also says Hollywood celebrities are coming to Christ and making a U-turn in the types of films they create.
"We have one of the biggest wonderful directors, the guy who did the biggest miniseries ever on ABC television," Baehr says. "He was Muslim and he came to Christ, and he's doing one Christian movie after another—good movies, really good movies.
"... So these amazing people are coming to Christ, people are learning the craft, and people are making a U-turn and going from making the bad and the ugly to making the good and the true and the beautiful."
The incredible thing is that these filmmakers are making more money on these movies because they're incorporating the advice that Baehr and Movieguide offer. The more that movies incorporate biblical and family values, the better they perform.
Be sure to check out what Baehr is doing with Movieguide at movieguide.org. You can find insightful reviews of new films that Christians can read and discern if they should see the film or not. Listen to my full interview with Baehr by clicking here. I think you'll be encouraged by what you hear!
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