With the success of the recent film “The Passion of the Christ”, Hollywood producers and studios are wondering whether the movie industry is omitting a large portion of American culture, and have not seen the interest of the population towards religious films. It was the unanticipated $263 million dollar box office sales that shook the ground, surpassing even large budget films like “Hulk” and “Matrix”.
As the movie continues to be played, soon internationally in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, the numbers will only increase. There is definitely going to be much discussion about this topic and theme, and more open-mindedness towards movies of religious themes. Much expectation is for a stream of religious films, based on the New Testament.
“Will there really be scriptural pictures- Old Testament, New Testament?” asked Peter Guber, a former producer of Sony Pictures Entertainment. “The answer seemingly is probably so.”
Soon after the film ran, ABC broadcasted the movie Judas on TV. And NBC ordered the pilot of a show called “Revelations”, which is based on the book of Revelations, depicting the time of Armageddon. A poll taken showed that 78 percent of Americans believe that what was on the show would happen, and 39 percent said that it would be in their lifetime.
Since the past, movies with political and religious strong points have not been okayed by Hollywood. But things may be changing, and the success of “The Passion” cannot be ignored. Recent announcement by Walt Disney Company is to make a big-budget production of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, written by C. S. Lewis, an influential Christian writer. The rights of this film are owned by Philip Anschutz, also Christian.
There is much hope for more Christian films to be produced, and more producers to make films with greater meaning that what is currently seen in Hollywood. We should expect to see much more Gospel-influenced projects entering the American culture and to the world.