Essay / Culture

Does Hollywood hate money?

‘Kingdom of Heaven’ tops weekend box office – MORE MOVIE NEWS AND FEATURES – MSNBC.com: “Hollywood’s box office slump continued with revenues down for the 11th straight weekend compared to the same weekend last year, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.”When I was a kid, we dreamed of a day when Hollywood would make cool Christian movies.Films aimed for our demographic were often juvenile and seldom exciting. Then Hollywood quit making any kind of film for us at all.We imagined that Hollywood did not make Christian movies, because they did not think it good box office.We imagined it was because our movies (the ones associated with “Christians”) were bad films. Last year Christians (mostly) made a film that was R-rated, foreign language, and very violent a huge cash cow for Mel Gibson. “We shall see,” I thought to myself. Critics of the Christian sub-culture had long argued that our marginalization was mostly due to us. We were not smart enough to go to good films. We went to this art film. We not only went. We went in droves and made Mel Gibson rich. Now we know that Hollywood does not like Christians and would rather lose money than make a film they like.Where are the imitations of the Passion of the Christ?Instead, Hollywood makes films that should be pitched to us and ruins them. The best example is the religiously and politically incoherent “Kingdom of Heaven.” It started with a top box office draw from a film series (“Lord of the Rings”) that evangelicals loved. It had the right plot: a battle against radical Islam in defense of a Christian state under attack. The home audience, the fifty-one percent of folk who voted for Bush, was ready for Legolas to fight for the Holy Cross. We were bound to be disappointed. Such a film would have received sneers from the people film makers party with and who stoke the egos of most film makers. Instead of playing to the home audience and rooting for the Christians (eighty percent of the audience) with some subtle nods to the glories of mainstream Islam (just to be fair!), it went in the opposite direction.Is there really a big American market for angst ridden, religion hating, confused epics? One goes to an epic like this to see the battle scenes, but leaves this picture ashamed at having gone to see the battle scenes. We are at War with Terror. This War is against radical Islam. In World War II Hollywood decided to sign up for the duration and so marginalized fascism that they killed it. Nazi and fascist just means evil to almost everyone. That is a good thing. Why can’t they do the same thing to radical Islam? If history is to be rewritten (as it was for this film) why couldn’t the West be made to look good? Imagine this film as pro-Christian and pro-West. The talking heads would have screamed, but Iowa and West Virginia would have bought tickets. Too many folk in Hollywood would rather lose money than make a film that the red states like.

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