Cashing in

January 2003 – A new study analyzing the moral content and box office appeal of more than 500 movies released in 2000 and 2001 demonstrates that films with a strong, moral message frequently make more money than movies with objectionable content.

The study was sponsored by the Christian Film & Television Commission ministry, founded by Dr. Ted Baehr. The ministry publishes Movieguide, a monthly magazine that analyzes and grades movie content from a Christian perspective.

Results from the survey show that movie patrons are heading for movies which have a strong moral component, but do not offend and are not rated R.

In 2000 and 2001, for example, the study found that movies with very strong, positive, moral content earned more money on average than movies with graphic or excessive violence, foul language, sexual immorality or nudity. Also on the list of themes that were relatively unappealing to moviegoers: strong pagan, humanist, socialist, or occultic content, and miscellaneous immoral acts such as stealing, kidnapping, lying or blackmail.

However, while moviegoers appear to be voting with their wallets, it is not clear that Hollywood is getting the message. Baehr has also found that the movie industry is producing fewer movies with moral and/or Biblical content. For example, the number of such morally- or Biblically-based films declined, from 62% of the movies released in 2000, to 53% in 2001.

"As responsible parents and individuals, we can encourage positive improvements in these trends by supporting good movies and rejecting bad ones," Baehr said. "We need to keep sending Hollywood the message that an audience exists for good movies and that sex, excessive violence, and foul language are a detriment both to society and to their studio's bottom line."

The bottom line, however, "can be measured only in a society that moves toward truth, goodness, justice, beauty, and the resultant blessings of God," Baehr said.

Movieguide helps Christians and Christian parents make those types of informed decisions. At Baehr's Web site, for example, current movies are rated either Exemplary, Moral, Good, Wholesome, Caution, Extreme Caution, Excessive or Abhorrent. Each rating is explained in detail.

For more information call 1-800-899-6684 or visit