Monday, February 21, 2011

Christians Making A Difference Behind The Scenes In Hollywood

LOS ANGELES – In a hotel suite overlooking Universal Studios in Hollywood this past week, a hodgepodge band of Christians from around the world gathered for prayer, asking God for servants' hearts to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and for transformation of the entertainment industry.

And if the next day's red-carpet events in the same hotel are any indication, God has been answering those prayers.

Ministry leaders from New York City and Germany, scriptwriters from Wisconsin and New Zealand, representatives from as far away as Hong Kong and Japan were gathered with Hollywood insiders – and those who simply appreciate the power of cinema – at the Universal City Hilton outside Los Angeles to pray in preparation for Moveguide's 19th Annual Awards Gala and Report to the Industry.

The event marked more than two decades of prayer and hard work by Movieguide – since its inception in 1985 – to re-instill Christian values and faith-friendly messages into the movies.

In his organization's 80-page statistical analysis and report to the entertainment industry, Dr. Ted Baehr, founder of MovieGuide and chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, gave evidence of the transformation he's been praying for:

  • According to the report, the number of R-rated films Hollywood produces has declined dramatically from 81 percent of the major movies released in 1985 to about 40 percent in 2010.

  • Among the year's top 25 best-grossing movies, 12 were R-rated in 1996, compared to only 4 in 2010.

  • And while R-rated films are in decline, the percent of films with positive moral content is on the rise, from 26 percent of major movies in 1991, to 62 percent in 2000, to 84 percent in 2010.

  • The percent of films with positive Christian content is also on the rise, from 10 percent in 1991, to 41 percent in 2000, to 60 percent in 2010.

"There is good news in Hollywood," the Movieguide report states. "Since we started to redeem the values of the mass media of entertainment, we have seen more and more of the results of our strategic efforts to clean the screens because 1) the number of pro-Christian movies has increased dramatically; 2) Hollywood studios have developed working relationships with us; and, 3) more and more top Hollywood executives and creative talent have joined with us to produce better movies and entertainment."

The report continues, "There are now more family movies and more movies with positive Christian content and positive Christian worldviews than since the end of the Golden Age of Hollywood in 1966."

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