Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fox Launches Religious Movie Shingle

A day after finding out major studios kowtow to hate groups like Focus on the Family, we find out that Twentieth Century Fox is launching a religious-based shingle called FoxFaith: Movies You Can Believe In. (Love the slogan.) Frankly, it sounds pretty demeaning: 12 movies a year with micro-mini budgets of less than $5 million each. Family movies should be part of every studio's budget and they certainly shouldn't be relegated to the low-end of the movie budget. The first release -- "Love's Abiding Joy" -- only cost $2 million and is actually the fourth movie in a very popular TV movie franchise on (I believe) the Hallmark Channel. That series began with "Love Comes Softly." In other words, they're launching this franchise outreach to Christians with not a glorified TV movie but an ACTUAL TV movie. God deserves better. At the opposite end of the morality scale, LionsGate is launching a horror-themed video on demand shingle called FearNet. No word if they're reaching out to Satanists.


Anonymous said...

Far be it from me to defend a company like News Corp that has pretty much sold its soul to Conservative fanatics, but what is wrong with this idea? Yeah, this seems tailor made to appease Conservatives and they could spend a little more money, but they're taking a chance on a genre that, for all the crying and screaming of Christians and excepting the success of the trumped-up Passion of the Christ, does not draw big box office. You're correct, Love's Abiding Joy is part of a series that started out on the Hallmark Channel. The first two actually starred a pre-Grey's Anatomy Katherine Heigl. They were rather good family films and a big hit among the women in my family even though none of them are overly religious people. The films themselves have a good message without being knock-you-over-the-head religious. If the films succeed – and for $2 million how could they not? – then maybe other studios will begin to invest in more family oriented films. The problem I see is that studios, even Disney, market “family” films that are full of sexual innuendo, violence, and some disturbing images. Looking back, some of the past family films Disney made – The Invisible Kid, The Cat from Outer Space, Escape from Witch Mountain, etc. -- they may seem hokey in hindsight, but I loved them as a kid. Granted, children today expect so much more from films in the way of F/X and story, but any of those above films could be made today and be moderately successful, especially when you count DVD and foreign box office.

Michael in New York said...

I agree with everything you say. I too liked the Love's Abiding Joy TV movies and pitched them without success. I'll do the same with the movie, assuming I see it and it holds up. I think family films are great and that too often family films are defacto things like Talladega Nights which aren't appropriate for little kids. My complaint is the branding and the niche marketing. I think ALL moviegoers can embrace good movies, however wholesome they may be. Fobbing off cheap tv movies (and $#2 mil is VERY cheap, even for a tv movie) is no way to launch a franchise. Further, as with movies geared towards blacks or gays or other minorities, I think it's better for the movie and better appreciated by the groups you're trying to reach when their movies/stories /tv shows are presented alongside others insted of shunted to some tiny shingle or a night for "urban" programming on UPN. Studios already invest a ton in family films, especially if you include animated movies. They'll always do so. I think maybe my problem here is the idea that well-made, wholesome movies are a niche market. They're not and shouldn't be treated as such. Esape from Witch Mountain has been in development for ages, I can't imagine why it hasn't been remade yet.