General Question

KNOWITALL's avatar

Why do religious movies/ issues seem to be so popular in America?

Asked by KNOWITALL (14908 points ) March 19th, 2014

Apparently 2014 had been deemed the ‘Year of the Bible’ because they’re cheap to make and earn tons of money.

Why do you think that is?

ttp://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2014/01/03/5-films-will-make-2014-year-bible/

http://www.cc.org/news/christian_movie_makes_money_and_surprises_hollywood

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30 Answers

ucme's avatar

I’ve touched on this in the past here, you Americans do seem to be extremely passionate about your religion or lack thereof. Over here no one really cares about others religious beliefs, never becomes an issue at all.

bolwerk's avatar

Are they? If 30% of the population is consuming them, that’s about a hundred million people. I seriously doubt most people give a crap one way or another – and if it’s Hollywood, many people are going for the explosions.

The American commentariat blows religion out of proportion. A few million people watch cable news every night, and it sets the agenda in mass media for what “everybody” cares about and talks about.

filmfann's avatar

@ucme Why shouldn’t anyone be passionate about their religion? Are there things that they should be more passionate about?

Talk about The Passion

gasman's avatar

Religious insanity is very common in the United States.” —Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Little has changed since Tocqueville’s 1835 publication. We are regarded by Europe, and most of the rest of the world, with bemused derision for our paradoxical mix of puritanical righteousness and unrestrained decadence.

thorninmud's avatar

I’ve known lots of Christian families that have very strict standards about what movies they’ll allow themselves to see. Most mainstream movies have some kind of objectionable content for them. When something bible-based comes out, they’re so relieved to have something they can see with a clean conscience that it’s pretty much guaranteed a large audience of movie-starved Christians.

ucme's avatar

@filmfann Never said there was anything wrong with that, just making an observation. Although the passion shown by atheists aimed at believers borders on intimidation.

Coloma's avatar

I saw “Son of God” mostly because the actor that plays Jesus is so amazingly handsome.
Just watching his face was a treat in itself. lol
My take….epic, religious/historical pictures are few and far between and lend themselves to a genre that is rare in these times of action/sci-fi dramas that cater to mostly the teen to 20 something crowd. I like epic historical movies and plan on seeing “Noah” as well…for the cast and scenery.

I am not religious but can appreciate a well done historical film and while I believe Jesus was real I do not believe he was the immaculately conceived son of this mysterious “God.”
Why shouldn’t religious people have some films made in their interest?
I’ll take “Son of God” over Robo-Cop any day of the week.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@thorninmud I tend to agree with you on that.

Jesus of Nazareth with Jim Caviziel actually touched me so deeply that I cried watching it.

Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty and many others seem to be half-mocking, half-serious, yet Christian site reviews give them five out of five stars, so Hollywood seems to be making some unusually perceptive choices. Odd for a town notorious for mocking religion.

Juels's avatar

I’m agnostic but I watch movies that entertain me. Some of the bible stories have been turned into good flicks.

JLeslie's avatar

Religion seems to be hating up the last 20 years here in the USA. It has to do with politics and media I think. Once the republicans got the brilliant idea to make being a good Christian mans having to be a Republican, it heated up the religious fever and antagonism in the country. Growing up in NY and outside of DC none of us ever talked about religion or cared what each other were (we knew what everyone was though). Religion was a private matter for families, but we were happy to share in religious celebrations with friends and families. Now being back in FL it is more like that again, and my husband and I are very happy to be back where it feels “normal.” There are plenty of church celebrations here, but the community gets involved and it is a fun tradition, and it doesn’t feel like one religion is trying to dominate, it feels like we are one of the many.

I really dislike how crazy it has become. I don’t think it is positive for the country.

To answer why are religious movies more popular, I would guess we have always had a percentage of the population obsessed with their religion and they will pay to see movies. Once the industry saw how much money the movies bring in, more movies were made. I think there is some peer pressure too. Probably seeing Passion of the Christ (is that the right title?) in some circles is a must do like seeing the Wizard of Oz when you are a kid or Shindler’s List.. Say you didn’t see Passion and your church friends gasp and tell you how good it is and you must see it.

My dad has a used books business and a few years ago I remember him telling me how well Christian books sold to his surprise. He didn’t know that niche market, he kind of happened onto it and then made a nice penny from it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Right there is the reason I believe pandering to theists is lucrative and increasing.

People are realizing that if you appeal to that demo, they will actually spend a lot of money and tell all their friends and family.

If you think about it, most people I know who are theists are not the types to blow money at casino’s, strip joints or bars on a regular basis right?!

janbb's avatar

Not popular in my neck of the woods.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I have no idea. The atheists I know barely drink, if they do at all, are responsible with their money, aren’t running to strip clubs or casinos. All my alcoholic friends happen to be Christians or Catholics and theists. I think there are all sorts of people in all groups.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Ah, regional differences again maybe? Theists here in the Bible Belt seem to aim for biblical perfection, which is really hardcore against sin of any kind.

@janbb Where your neck of the woods again?

janbb's avatar

The northeast.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@janbb Heathen yankee territory…hahaha, j/k

LostInParadise's avatar

It is part of a last ditch effort to hold onto religion. It is of course not working, since the numbers of religiously affiliated people in the U.S. has been in steady decline. As their numbers decrease, their passion increases, and Hollywood is taking advantage by providing fictional religious refuges.

Pachy's avatar

Because too many people don’t know how to keep their beliefs and opinions, religious and otherwise, to themselves.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

I live in the northeast and these movie are not popular here at all. They are mostly made fun of. I’m a Christian so I have learned to keep my feeling to myself and watch these movie when I can watch them on TV or purchase them.

I remember when “The Passion of the Christ” was playing here and we had hundreds of people picketing movies that showed this movie. it was a perfect example of how intolerant non Religious people are against those that are.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat In all fairness, an atheist here told me they wanted to participate in the 9/11 memorial service and were denied entry. Both sides seem to get carried away at times I guess.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I have a feeling there are lots of bible belt Christians in Tunica and Branson committing some sins. LOL. But, I know what you are saying. Certainly many Christians do their best to live good clean lives as free of sin as possible. I just think some theists (not you) have a negative idea about how atheists are spending their time, and your generalization kind of touched on that sentiment.

In the bible belt I got the feeling the people felt the jails were full of people without God. From what I understand that actually is not statistically true, but I do think sometimes the churches can help children and people who have no real grounding. Their families are messed up for whatever reason, or their community is really tough. They probably were not going to church every weekend. My world the atheists are scientists, lawyers, doctors, businessmen, soccer moms, smart, honest, responsible, focused on family and children, charitable, people. At first glance I can’t tell a theist from an atheist, can you? Pretty much everyone always assumes I believe in God unless I tell them differently. Especially in the bible belt.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@KNOWITALL I find that hard to believe. I would have to know more information but at the 911 memorial services (of which there were many) some had different rules due to the crowds. One was open to everyone, another only for family members and others for charitable groups. now anyone with a ticket can enter the site which now is mainly tourists.

Right now we have atheist who are protesting at the site because of the steel beam that formed a cross being in the 911 memorial. free to protest and not taken away in police vans. They (the athiest) want the steel cross removed from the site.

I am very aware of the 911 Memorial since I knew five people who died and I live in the area. Your “friends” story doesn’t ring true to me.

as an afterthought, how would anyone even know a person was an atheist unless that person had a known agenda and wanted to disrupt the service by signs or banners or protest chants.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Those are all older folks in those two places…lol Younger folks sin in KC or StL!

Well a lot of criminals turn to God in jail because they are hopeless, I explained that before that God=Hope to many of us.

@BeenThereSaidThat She’s not really a friend, but she used to be here quite a bit. I’ll PM as she’s requiested I not use her name in open forum.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I do know people who have turned their lives around after finding God. I take that very seriously, and I am glad they were able to find something that gave them direction and peace and as you say, hope.

As far as the old people, I guess I am old, or more likely rarely in places like that, so I have very little clue.

rojo's avatar

I thing the most entertaining religious movie I have seen in ages was Dogma.

And This was my favorite scene.

rojo's avatar

Whenever I see a news story on the religious turmoil in the middle east, I wonder if it used to be as several others have mentioned here; that people of different faiths and sects lived alongside each other and with those with no faith without being overly concerned with the religious outlook of their neighbors until one group decided that theirs was the only way.
Then I wonder if that will ever come to pass in the US?

Darth_Algar's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat “Right now we have atheist who are protesting at the site because of the steel beam that formed a cross being in the 911 memorial. free to protest and not taken away in police vans. They (the athiest) want the steel cross removed from the site.”

No, people (and not just atheists) want the cross removed because it’s a clear violation of the Separation Clause, since the 9/11 Memorial is being funded in large part through public money (with funding coming from both the state of New York and the federal government).

And why would atheists/protesters being taken away in police vans? Has the 1st Amendment been repealed?

Smashley's avatar

To answer your question specifically, religious movies (that is, movies created for Christian audiences) “seem” to be so popular because there is a subset of Christian movie goers that is very predictable, and it takes very little to appeal to them.

I don’t think this points to anything at all. The first article lists 5 movies, 4 of which are “bliblical” and speculates about their success. A risky move for anyone. I’ll speculate that the grosses on these films will be higher than one would think considering their quality, but in the end, they won’t ignite a resurgence of Christianity, though they will make Christians feel a little better as they slip away into history.

The next article describes the success of an indie movie from six years ago. It’s a single, mild success, most likely buoyed by the fact that Christians in America are dwindling in numbers and feel the need to rally around things more often, to justify their own existence. Christians point to it as proof that they are still relevant, when in fact, it’s pretty much the opposite.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Smashley It’s actually easy to offend theists especially with a portrayal of religious stories and people they/ we hold dear. I also would assume that Hollywood is more interested in money than a resurgence of any religion, but who knows.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Frankly, I had no idea that there was a current trend of popular religious movies. I suppose it’s because I live on the West coast, but there are no ads on television, in the papers, etc. If they’re earning tons of money, it must be a trend in “flyover” country.

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