Christian or faith-based films appear to be making a resurgence throughout Hollywood. In fact, Independent filmmakers and actors Alex and Stephen Kendrick, Kevin Downes, Ken Bevel, T.C. Stallings along with other Christian production companies proved to be game changers in the Christian film industry over the last several years. Each one of these men played a colossal role in the completion of the movie Courageous, which grossed more than 30 million dollars since its premiere in 2011.
Although numerous Christian films have seen glory days on the big screen, it has only been in the last decade that Hollywood has noticed the growing demand for these types of films. Christian audiences around the world desire family-oriented “movies with a very strong moral and/or biblical worldview” according to Motive Entertainment, a California based company whose marketing campaign propelled Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ to the top in 2004.
Despite the rise of faith and family oriented films in recent years, Independent Christian filmmakers, such as Sherwood Pictures, and Affirm Films find the importance of continually aspiring to produce powerful and influential movies. While faith-based movies represented more than $600,000,000 in overall gross sales at the box office in 2014, there remains an immense appetite for Christian movies playing at theaters as declared by MovieGuide’s Ted Baehr.
According to Barna Research, 43% of adult Americans attend religious services weekly, representing approximately 130 million people every Sunday, while 63 million American adults say they have an “active faith,” which includes weekly church attendance, prayer, and Bible reading. When comparing these statistics to the 18 million Americans who frequent movie theaters in a weekend, the result is clear that there is a large, viable market for faith-based movies.
Christian production companies strive to not only yield successful box office numbers, but more importantly capture an audience who desires virtuous films that parallel their values and beliefs as well. Christian based audiences and families around the globe search for movies that exclude or minimize topics regarding sex, violence, and foul language.
Films such as Courageous, Fireproof, When the Game Stands Tall, and God’s Not Dead exceeded expectations with their impressive box office sales across the globe. Andrew Romano, who writes for the Daily Beast revealed in an article on January 9, 2014, “Over the next 11 months, Hollywood is planning to release more big Biblical movies than it put out during the previous 11 years combined, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down in 2015 (or beyond).”