Making room for God in Hollywood

Movie theater box offices have seen a trend this past month; God as the leading man.

â??I say â??Hooray, itâ??s about timeâ??,â?? said Carissa Sulllivan after seeing popular new movie, Godâ??s Not Dead. â??I think itâ??s fitting in a time where the world is in an uncertain place and thereâ??s a lot of heartache and pain and uncertainty and I think people are searching for a feel good and looking for answers.

It is clear in the huge successes of the faith-based films that people are curious and/or comfortable with the idea of religion in movies. In itâ??s opening weekend, Godâ??s Not Dead grossed over $8.5 million. However, what really has people talking is the controversial film, Noah, thatâ??s being called more secular than it is religious.

â??I just wish they wouldâ??ve follow the actual Noah story a little better as far as what actually happened and things like that. I just feel like it kind of strayed a way from the actual story. It was definitely more a fantasy story than a Biblical story,â?? said Desiree and Will Gordon after leaving the theater where they had just seen the film.

â??If Hollywood ever listened to me, Iâ??d say that they needed to be careful not to make the Christian audience mad and to really stick to the exact story of the Bible. Itâ??s kind of like Lord of the Rings. Those people read it and they wanted to see the film be just like that. You donâ??t want to mess with that. Same with Christianity,â?? said Mikey Littau, Director at WTâ??s Wesley Foundation.

With this increase in attention, some are wondering whether the trend will continue; especially since Noah is currently the number one grossing film worldwide. And is this a change of heart for Hollywood? Or is it simply good business catering to the largest religious group in the world.

I think Hollywood paying attention to Christian themed films is just coming down to economics. The film companies are making money,â?? said Roger Lindley, an award winning film maker from Amarillo. â??Christian themed films had to be proven out as a viable investment opportunity. With all the frontrunners, with Passion of the Christ as a major frontrunner, it proved to Hollywood that these movies could make money. And whether itâ??s a Christian film or secular film, it doesnâ??t matter, it just has to make money,â?? said Lindley.

Littau takes a somewhat softer stance, saying that he can see it from both sides. He knows Hollywood sees that there is a huge constituency of Christians and a niche of faith-based movies that has been unfilled. But he also thinks that there are Christian filmmakers taking this opportunity to recognize that faith-based film can be made and be successful for the general public.