Tags: Movies | Ted | Baehr | Hollywood | Christian

Movie Expert Baehr: Faith-Based Flicks in Vogue

Saturday, 19 Feb 2011 12:24 PM

By Henry J. Reske and Ashley Martella

Movie expert Ted Baehr tells Newsmax.TV that major Hollywood studios’ focus on making money has trumped the anti-Christian bias that thrives in some corners of the film industry. The percentage of films now portraying faith, Christian values, and patriotism in a positive light has exceeded his expectations, said Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission.

“Hollywood is a vast organization . . . but the major studios wanted to make money so when we started doing our report to the entertainment industry showing that movies with faith and values do better, patriotic movies do better, there was only one faith-based movie with a positive reference to Jesus,” Baehr said in the exclusive Newsmax interview.

“Two years ago, it was 49 percent,” he said. “I thought it would never go beyond 45 percent because that’s about the percentage of the church-going audience. Well that’s a vote at the box office, now it’s up to 60 percent.”

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Growing numbers of people in Hollywood who are Christians are opting for faith-based films instead of action flicks, said Baehr, the publisher and editor in chief of a website and bi-weekly journal that evaluates motion pictures on suitability for family viewing from a conservative Christian perspective. Every studio has started a faith-based film department, he said.

Baehr cited the three animated films of “Toy Story III,” “Shrek Forever After,” and “Despicable Me” as the most successful family-orientated, Christian-friendly movies of the past year.

“Toy Story 3,” with the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, took in more than a $1 billion worldwide. “Shrek Forever After,” starring the vocals of Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Banderas, drew $750 million worldwide. And “Despicable Me,” with Steve Carell and Russell Brand reading the script, took in more than $500 million worldwide.

However, success in changing Hollywood does not necessarily translate to success in changing television, where shows such as “South Park” mock Christianity, Baehr said.

“Television works differently than movies,” he said. “We have to distinguish between the two. Television has drifted further and further to the left, and movies have drifted in the other direction. Why, because movies are a direct vote at the box office . . . However, television, the producers are insulated by the ad agencies, which are out of New York. … Television is really a different animal entirely.”

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