The environmental apocalypse movie Noah opened this weekend to a strong $96 million in international box office. The movie that uses the name of the Biblical man of faith to build an ark under the instruction of God as its pretext for story-telling appears to be well on the way toward profitability, and as a result Hollywood will make more anti-God, quasi-Biblical tales.
To quote Forbes movie analyst Scott Mendelson, “Paramount stressed going into the weekend that they didn’t have the kind of group ticket sales that benefited ‘Son of God’ a few weeks back, and it would seem that many of the very hardcore religious filmgoers that Paramount was both scared of and somewhat pitching to ended up seeing ‘God’s Not Dead’ anyway.”
And that is exactly why it is important for those who believe that Hollywood harms our nation’s culture through both subtle and overt attacks to be more consumer aware.
Analysts compare how movies do at the box office and then make decisions about what kind of movies get green lighted for the future. God’s Not Dead in its second week of release has been a stunning success as well. Its box office has exceeded $20 million in two weeks with it being seen in significantly fewer theaters than Noah.
Unfortunately, there were those who care about the culture wars and ignored the warnings by various credible sources that the movie Noah was not just extra-Biblical, but anti-Biblical, who still gave their money to the self-described atheist producer who created it. And by extension, they encouraged the same exact kind of Biblical perversion to be directed at audiences which have minimal knowledge about God’s Word in the future.
While others avoided comparisons of the God’s Not Dead turnstiles and that of Noah, Hollywood is watching.
The great news out of the weekend is that Mendelson admits the following:
The real surprise in holdover news was the shocking hold for God’s Not Dead. The film earned a fine $9.1m last weekend, but is set to earn another $9.08m this weekend (-2%). The faith-based drama is not remotely the one-weekend-wonder that I was expecting, as it ended its tenth day with $22.03m. Long term projections are officially out the window, but it should pass $30m by the end of next weekend. It may end up within spitting distance of the $56m gross of Fox’s Son of God. It ironically probably swooped up much of the hardcore religious viewership that Paramount was so concerned about in regards to Noah, arguably by positioning itself as the anti-Noah for those who felt that Aronofsky’s film wasn’t explicitly divine enough.
The domestic performance of the narrowly promoted God’s Not Dead movie, along with future downloads and DVD sales should encourage Hollywood to continue throwing a few bones on low budget productions that get minimal mainstream advertising in an attempt to gobble up religious viewership dollars.
Unfortunately, Noah’s first week box office, after being engulfed in controversy, will also encourage them to throw hundreds of millions of dollars at faux Biblical stories that have the effect of subverting the core messages of the sacred texts of the Judeo-Christian belief system that underlie American culture.The very statement by Mendelson that Noah proves, “once again that perhaps there is no such thing as “bad publicity,” should be a red letter warning to those who are fighting the culture wars.
Until they figure out how to hit Hollywood in the pocketbook on movies like Noah, they are destined to be ignored, and worse, exploited.
A word to the wise, culture warrior. If you want to see a movie this upcoming weekend, go see God’s Not Dead at your local theater, and avoid seeing Noah. The longer God’s Not Dead is featured on movie marquees around the country, the more people will be intrigued to see it, and conversely, if Noah floats away after a few weeks due to collapsing box office numbers, Hollywood will notice.
It’s time for the culture war to be won using the only measurement entertainment moguls understand–dollars in their pocketbooks. And the next time, you choose to ignore warnings that a so-called Biblical movie is anything but, and pay to see the movie out of curiosity, don’t blame Hollywood for its attack on God’s Word. Blame yourself for supporting it.