April 8, 2004  
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Sex, movies don’t mix: Christians

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

Times, they are a changin’; according to a report by a Christian group, gratuitous sex, senseless violence and stomach-churning gore in movies no longer sells big, while good ol’ fashioned wholesome movies are the cat’s ass at the box office.

Ted Baehr, director of the Christian Film and Television Commission — the organization that conducted the report — explained that after analyzing more than 1,000 movies over several years, it was found movies without violence made an average of $41.1 million, while movies with violence grossed only $16.7 million.

“The whole study looks at theology, sex, violence, philosophy and political perspective,” Baehr said, pointing out some of the report’s other findings. “The more nudity, the more sex you put in, the less it will make.

“There was also a 200 per cent increase [in sales] in movies with redemptive Christian values,” he said.

“More family films have been churned out now,” he added, citing the box office sales revealed in the report as a reason the movie studios made this move. He added many studios attempt to exploit every available market, but the wholesome movies still garner more box office sales.

“It’s not as clear cut as it seems, but that’s not to say that people prefer wholesome family fare,” explained Keir Keightley, a Western media, information and technoculture professor. “If this is a valid study, it should be over a longer period of time.”

The report only takes box office sales into account, which is inaccurate, he said, adding high sales do not mean there are more viewers. “There’s a little tiny bit of exaggeration, but I’m not denying the study.”

Western film and MIT graduate Matt Huether said he did not fully agree with the study’s conclusion. “There’s a big call for censoring anything sexual — but there isn’t a call for censoring violence,” he said, adding sex is something everyone does at some point, while violence is not as prevalent. “I think they’re tilting [it] the wrong way.

“They’re taking it a bit out of context,” he noted, adding the American rating system is stringent and forces those under 18 away from R-rated movies with sex and violence, which would account for the lower revenue. “[The study] isn’t terribly useful.”



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