The LA Times had an interesting article today on Christians and movies. When I was a kid, we didn’t go to movie theaters, so it’s interesting to read about Hollywood getting some good stuff in there. Here’s a clip, worth reading and thinking about next time you spend $10.25 for a ticket:

Studio executives say their outreach to these groups should be seen as smart marketing rather than bowing to a conservative Christian agenda. On the one hand, they say, this is a large, motivated, well-organized niche credited with winning the Bush presidency. Why not reach out to them? At the same time, family films just happen to gross more on average than those without such wide appeal. So why not make more and ensure they appeal to the broadest possible swath of Americans?

“People have recognized in Hollywood that it’s good business to be in the family entertainment business,” said one studio executive who did not want to be identified for fear of alienating critics. “Whether it’s Focus on the Family or Rick Warren, the author of ‘The Purpose Driven Life,’ there are gigantic religious groups that follow people that have a voice. It’s a group that understands who their constituency is better than film critics at large….They are very, very driven and very focused. They are not a silent majority. They’re very active.”

For these reasons, the nonprofits that speak to the faith and family community are being invited to far more screenings than their small staffs have time to attend, a predicament that just five years ago would have been unthinkable.

“They’ll send us to a movie, and we say no a little bit more than we say yes,” said Jeffrey L. Sparks, president and chief executive of the family-oriented Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. “There’s only so much we can see…. Every week I have contact with some studio. We’re getting early versions of the scripts because they want to see if we’re interested.”