Biblical storyline key to turning out Faith Driven Consumer market
In recent years, Hollywood has increasingly come to understand the importance of the $1.75 trillion Faith Driven Consumer market for achieving success at the box office. Hits like Passion of the Christ, The Blind Side, 42, Duck Dynasty, and The American Bible Challenge point to the power of the 46 million Americans who are Faith Driven Consumers to make or break a project. And the degree to which a story or concept is faithful to a biblically orthodox narrative and worldview is often the key to its acceptance by Faith Driven Consumers.
This week, news broke that a controversy is brewing over the degree to which an upcoming, big-budget movie about Noah and the Flood will appeal to the make-or-break Faith Driven Consumer market. Directed by Darren Aronofsky of Black Swan, The Wrestler and Pi fame, and bankrolled by Paramount Studios to the tune of more than $125 million (and counting) in production costs, Noah appears to have recently run aground with key faith-based test audiences.
According to The Hollywood Reporter:
“…the studio has held test screenings for key groups that might take a strong interest in the subject matter: in New York (for a largely Jewish audience), in Arizona (Christians) and in Orange County, Calif. (general public). All are said to have generated troubling reactions. But sources say Aronofsky has been resistant to Paramount's suggested changes.”
Perhaps offering clues to this resistance by faith-driven audiences to the Noah narrative, reviewer Brian Godawa read the script last year and noted that the character of Noah comes across as an “environmentalist wacko.” Godawa warns:
“If you were expecting a Biblically faithful retelling of the story of the greatest mariner in history and a tale of redemption and obedience to God you’ll be sorely disappointed. Noah paints the primeval world of Genesis 6 as scorched arid desert, dry cracked earth, and a gray gloomy sky that gives no rain – and all this, caused by man’s “disrespect” for the environment. In short, an anachronistic doomsday scenario of ancient global warming.”
In the end, Godawa concludes:
“This movie will be rejected by millions of devoted Bible readers worldwide because once again it subverts their own sacred narrative with a political agenda of pagan earth religion that is offensive to their Faith.”
While more rounds of screen testing and edits are no doubt in store for Paramount’s Noah, what’s clear is that the opinions and viewpoints of Faith Driven Consumers are being taken into account as Hollywood entertainment producers strive to find the right mix of creative license and biblically based narrative.
As a Faith Driven Consumer, would you spend the resources God has entrusted you to steward on an epic biblically themed movie that departs significantly from the text of Scripture?
Stay tuned to more details about this project as the March 2014 release date nears.