The other day I was watching one of this year’s Best Picture Nominees, it doesn’t matter which one, this isn’t a blog about well made movies… this is a blog about Christian movies. But seriously, While watching this particular movie I began to think. This year I have seen less of the Best Picture Nominees then I have in a long time. Why is that? It is actually the first time I actually set out to see all of them but for some reason I didn’t get a chance to see many before the Oscars where actually awarded. The reason was that many of the movies this year where independent limited release movies and even the ones that had a wide release did not make it to my part of the world. So I began to think about this.
I have been a long time supporter of Christian films. I have purchased VHS, DVD and Blu-Rays of some pretty bad films because I wanted to support them. I still shell out my money on Christian films because I want them to succeed! I want them to improve. In the past I have been very gracious when I watch a Christian film. I would often think in my head “Well, they didn’t have the budget of a Hollywood movie so I need to be lenient. However, this year’s Oscars confirmed to me one of the reasons I decided to start this blog! Please allow me to throw some numbers around to make my point. The following is a list of the Best Picture Nominees with their budget:
American Sniper – $58.8 Million
Grand Budapest Hotel – $30 Million
Selma – $20 Million
Birdman – $16.5 Million
Theory of Everything – $15 Million
Imitation Game – $14 Million
Boyhood – $4 Million
Whiplash – $3.3 Million
As you might have already noticed, these films are not a collection of the most expensive movies Hollywood offered us this year. Even American Sniper at nearly $60 Million is less than many war movies that have been presented in recent years. So, how do the budgets of these “Best Picture Nominees” stack up against recent Christian Movie budgets? Do recent Christian Movies have enough budget to make a movie that could be considered Best Picture of the year? Here is a list of a few Christian movies and their budgets.
Son of God – $22 Million
Soul Surfer – $18 Million
Left Behind (2014) – $16 Million
The Identical – $16 Million
When the Game Stands Tall – $15 Million
Heaven is for Real – $12 Million
Mom’s Night Out – $5 Million
God’s Not Dead – $2 Million
With the above list, I must pose a question to everyone. Is it still true that budget stands in the way of quality when it comes to Christian films? Please, do not misunderstand. There are some movies on the above list that I love. There are a few that I do not, but I am simply asking the question, are we still in an age where the quality of directing, or of acting, or of writing of Christian movies can be blamed on the lack of funding? Let’s say that the threshold for the budget to be in this year’s Oscar’s for Best Picture was between $60 Million and $3.3 Million, how many of the listed Christian films would have made the cut? Seven… Seven out of eight Christian films made it within the budget range of the nominees.
Now let me just be fair here. Let’s remove Soul Surfer because it wasn’t this year. Therefore, it wouldn’t have been eligible for this year’s Best Picture no matter what the budget but the other Seven would have been. Let’s also say, God’s Not Dead is disqualified because it did not have enough funding (Which is something the Academy never does.) We now have six films that were released this year and are TECHNICALLY eligible for a nomination for Best Picture. Now, you might say, yes, but Mr. Reel… I mean.. Mr. Pastor… Mr. Reel Pastor… even if a film was nominated it doesn’t mean it had enough money to make a good enough quality film to win. To which I would say, everyone of these nominees could have won. However, the winner was Birdman. If only we had some movies that had as large of a budget as Birdman. WE DID! We had Left Behind (2014) which is probably my least favorite movie on the Christian movie list, and we had The Identical, which was decent, it had its issues but over all I feel it was a step in the right direction for Christian films and makes me hope the film studio tries again.
Some of you might be thinking, “I am glad Christian films aren’t like these films, they are too weird!” That is ok, I am not saying that a “Best Picture” win means everyone must love the movie. There are many “Best Picture” winners that I personally didn’t like or connect with. That is a matter of taste. I personally do not like sushi. You could give me sushi from the most world renounce sushi chef and I still will not like it. It does not mean that I think he prepared the sushi wrong or that it wasn’t high quality sushi. I love stuffed shells! When I order stuffed shells I don’t want them to be bland or taste old or frost bitten. I want them to be made to the best of the ability of the Chef, and if the Chef can’t make good stuffed shells then he should step aside and allow someone else to do it who knows what they are doing. My wife makes the best stuffed shells; I am going to let her make them instead of trying to make some inferior batch myself.
I don’t want to seem like I am complaining about Christian movies, I love them and the reason I am pointing out these things is because, as you can see, we should start holding Christian films to a higher standard.