Faith Driven Consumer, the group behind the recent IStandWithPhil.com movement that played a leading role in Phil Robertson’s return to Duck Dynasty, also tracks the commercial viability of major Hollywood films courting faith audiences.
In 2014, the Year of the Bible Movie, studios are targeting 46 million Faith Driven Consumers who spend $1.75 trillion annually. While recent films such as Son of God and God’s Not Dead are exceeding expectations at the US box office, Noah has underperformed its opening weekend relative to its potential with a faith-based audience.
“10 years ago, The Passion of the Christ, an independent, Biblically-themed film with a $30 million dollar production budget, raked in nearly $84 million in gross earnings, in 2004 dollars, during its opening weekend. That film, grossing nearly $612 million worldwide, garnered the enthusiastic and passionate support of Faith Driven Consumers,” said Chris Stone, a Certified Brand Strategist and Founder of Faith Driven Consumer.
“The Passion of the Christ blended high production values with a strong adherence to the core Biblical message and narrative. The largest grossing independent film of all time, The Passion of the Christ afforded Hollywood an historic ‘ah-ha’ moment about the power of the Faith Driven Consumer audience – an audience hungry for high-quality entertainment choices that resonate with their deeply held, Biblically-based worldview and values.
“By contrast Noah, a film with a $125 million production budget and the promotional backing of one of the world’s leading studios, grossed only an estimated $44 million, in 2014 dollars, at the box office during its opening weekend.
“This film, which deviates far enough from the Biblical message and narrative as to render the original story largely unrecognizable, has clearly failed to garner the broad support of Faith Driven Consumers. Paramount is free to make whatever kind of film it wants to make, but the company’s leadership would be well-advised to consider the tens of millions of dollars they have already left and the hundreds of millions they will potentially be leaving on the table.
“What kind of records could Noah have shattered if the film’s tone and story had resonated with faith-based audiences as they did with The Passion? Paramount will never know.
“The Passion remains a strong favorite in faith communities across the nation today. Will the same ever be said of Noah?”
Faith-friendly films God’s Not Dead and Son of God continue to shatter expectations, though. God’s Not Dead saw a meager 1% drop this weekend compared to opening weekend, taking in another $9 million to add to its $9.2 million opening. Son of God is still going strong, closing in on $60 million at the US box office to date.
Faith Driven Consumer’s Film Reviews, which use five specific criteria to measure the faith compatibility of entertainment products, rated the Paramount film Noah a faith-friendly 2 out of 5 stars:
- Overall Faith and/or Biblical Relevance: 2 out of 5 stars
- Faith-compatible Depiction of Characters and Character Relationships: 2 out of 5 stars
- Faith-compatible Depiction of Situations: 2.5 out of 5 stars
- Family Viewing Suitability: 2 out of 5 stars
- Entertainment Value: 1.5 out of 5 stars
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