by Gina Burgess
Hollywood is ignoring the business side in the movie making business— Kevin Sorbo
Great interview with Kevin Sorbo who is a Christian and has been for his whole life. How fabulous that a Christian actor has the strength of character to admit it publicly, and to live his convictions in his acting. He’s the star of God is not Dead that cost $2 million to make and has grossed more than $50 million (if I remember the figures correctly.) Sorbo said that Hollywood is ignoring the fact that family movies make more money.
But, hey! This is not new news. I said this same thing back in 2007, and again in 2009. It’s worth saying again today. Why does Hollywood insist on spending billions of dollars on trashy movies? It is because they live in a trashy kind of environment and they, the producers and directors, think it is real life. But it is not. Another problem is they think they know what America is hungry for when, in fact, they have their heads in the ground.
Here are some facts and figures from my column in 2007…
Not one R-rated movie has made a top ten gross since 1995.
According to Numbers.com, a movie statistics website, the movies taking top dollar gross from 1995 to 2007 are PG-13 movies with a whopping $48.55 billion (yes, that is with a B) made from 1,247 movies filmed since 1995. R-rated films come next with a cumalative $34.1 billion made on 2,321 movies (that’s an average of $14.7 million for each movie). Next in line are PG movies with 638 films grossing $19.9 billion and finally 207 G-rated films grossing $6.35 billion or average of $30.7 million each. G-rated films grossed more than twice per film what an R-rated film grossed. Does that make sense to you?
Doing a little math, the R-rated movies grossed 30% less than the others, yet more of them were filmed. Not one of them made it into the top ten grossing slots. From 1995 to 2007, eight PG-13 films, four PG films and one G (Finding Nemo) made the number 1 slot for gross dollars culled.
Family movie time…
Some would say, oh that’s because Mom and Dad take the kiddies to the movies and that’s why they make more money. Well… Duh! Some say that G-rated films only fill movie theaters with folks paying half-fare for matinees, which is why movie-makers focus on making the R-rated movies for full-fare payers. However, that is not how the dollars are stacking. You don’t have to be the sharpest pencil in the cup to do that math.
In the past 12 years, Americans have spent almost $101 billion on movie tickets. How does one put that in perspective? Crunchweb.net says $84 billion will bury a football field in 55 feet of money. There are 60 seconds in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year, and 1 billion seconds equals 32 years.
How do books stack up to the $$$ test?
Top grossing books in the UK according to The Guardian, stack up only a smidge differently. Top grossing books of all time found on Wikipedia is quite interesting as well. The most recently written top grossing book of all time involves Harry Potter. The most ancient is Don Quixote. The list includes classics such as A Tale of Two Cities, The Lord of the Rings, The Little Prince, The Hobbit, and Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.
Fifty Shades of Gray does not appear on the lists anywhere, but Purpose Driven Life does.
My point in all this stems from an interesting discussion in a Facebook group this week. Is there such a thing as artistic nudity? The Bible deals with nudity bluntly. You should not bare yourself to anyone other than your spouse. Period. However, call me naïve, but I didn’t think there could be such diverse opinions among Christians about viewing/writing sex scenes because the Bible does not explicitly say, “You shall not appear nude to friends, family, or in public. It is a private matter between spouses.”
John Piper makes the crucial point that media sexuality, by its very nature, is real in a way that media violence is not. Death and dismemberment in Hollywood are accomplished through prosthetics, makeup, rubber knives, and CGI-wizardry. By contrast, nude scenes really happen. Real actors and actresses remove real clothes from their real bodies.
While I admit there’s a case to be made against overusing or glorifying violence, the comparison with graphic nudity is apples-to-kumquats. Human nature is not programmed to react to violence in the way it is programmed—hardwired even—to react to explicit sexual imagery…
The power of the aforementioned argument — “But the images on the screen are REAL” — often assumes one of these three things, that because nudity is inherently sinful / shameful, sexual in its expression, and/or of the same gradation and not fake, therefore it is wrong to watch it onscreen. But do those assumptions hold water?
… First we should note that there is no explicit statement in any of these verses condemning nakedness or nudity in general. (By this I mean something along the lines of ‘Thou shalt not publicly disrobe,’ or something similar.) Yes, public nudity is often viewed as shameful and definitely not endorsed. And covering someone’s, or our own, nakedness, is seen as virtuous (Ezekiel 16:7-9). That seems pretty clear. But whereas the Bible explicitly condemns specific sexual acts (lust, adultery, incest, homosexuality,etc.) it does not explicitly condemn nakedness.
(Quoted from Mike Duran’s blog post, I Like Big ‘Buts’ — An Evangelical Counter-Argument to Sex & Nudity in Cinema (Pt. Three) on March 30, 2016
So what about it? Is there ever a time when it is okay (God-approved) to write graphically about nudity, sexual encounters, or similar types of this nature for the story’s sake?