Why Christian Films Are Beating Secular Hollywood at the Box Office

You have probably never heard of this year’s most unexpected hit film. In its opening weekend, it grossed more than 10 times as much as Tár, the classical music drama and unending discourse generator. And it easily beat out both Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale and the most recent Magic Mike sequel: not bad for a decidedly mid-budget production made for $15m, now sitting pretty on a $40m box office haul. It is the highest-grossing film released by the studio Lionsgate since 2019 – beating even Ryan Reynolds’s big-budget action comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard.

This film also has a nigh-unreachable audience score of 99 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, making it more popular than Casablanca or Citizen Kane. It’s called Jesus Revolution. . .

Faith-based films are, unfortunately, almost uniformly bad – not because they’re too religious, but often because they’re not religious enough. They don’t want to grapple with the themes of sin and doubt and powerlessness and the infinite silence of God. What’s powerful in Christianity – even for unbelievers – is the sense of a God who doesn’t provide an easy answer for human suffering, but simply suffers alongside us. But these movies traffic in simple answers; they needs to tell you, at the end of every film, that everything is fine.

Many faith-based films are deeply integrated into the mainstream. The Shack was produced by Lionsgate under its Summit Entertainment brand – the same outfit that gave us the Twilight films. Heaven is for Real was produced in-house by Sony Pictures. And Jesus Revolution is made by the Kingdom Story Company, a film studio which has exclusively partnered with Lionsgate to make faith-based content. The film’s co-writer and director Jon Erwin has form in this area: his previous works include October Baby, about young mums finding God in an abortion clinic, and Woodland, which features young mums finding God on an equalities march.

“We’re entertainers first. I want to make you laugh; I want to make you cry,” Erwin told Christianity Today. “But underneath all of that, there’s this universal message about hope. That’s what’s so interesting about it. It’s set in the church; it’s called Jesus Revolution; it’s about a spiritual awakening in America. And yet people who have no affiliation to Christianity love this story.” (Read more from “Why Christian Films Are Beating Secular Hollywood at the Box Office” HERE)

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