Everyone is looking for a motivated core audience. The family genre is no different. Make it safe, positive, and affirming…and you’ll make it big.
This blog is produced by the highly talented team at Faith Driven Entertainment. We mention this for a reason, because the term “faith-driven” leads some to conclude a focus exclusively on biblically themed projects. We love these projects—they are hugely successful when done right. Consider the #1 grossing independent film of all time, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, which still holds that record after more than a decade. The faith genre needs more nurturing to ascend to the heights it is capable of reaching, and if you want more on that check out our previous post about leaving eyeballs on the table.
Today, however, let’s look at a genre today with equal potential—where the Untapped Audience is craving more content. American Insights found that more than half of Faith Driven Consumers (FDCs)—who make up 17 % of all U.S. adults—say there are not enough family-friendly movie options available.
For FDCs, it’s all in the family.
In the family genre, you can create something that’s positive, clean, affirming and entertaining—and you’ll have a hit that works both for Faith Driven Consumers and the larger Christian market. Remember, if FDCs get behind something, they will propel it outward.
Two quick examples.
DreamWorks’s Veggie Tales is a good place to start. For more than two decades, it has dominated much of the market because the creators understood the idea we’re discussing. Veggie Tales is traditionally popular with FDCs—you can see it played in many a Sunday school class in thousands of churches across America today—and it’s also popular with the larger Christian market, 70% of all U.S. adults. Other products have sprung up to compete, but they haven’t yet reached Veggie-level prominence.
So, who’s in line to be the next Veggie?
On the film side, think about THE BLIND SIDE.
This is our favorite example of a positive, affirming film that was beloved by Faith Driven Consumers, caught fire with the larger Christian market, and was embraced by general audiences as well—it rang all the bells. And with a total domestic gross of nearly $256 million, everyone had something to be happy about. Faith Driven Consumer™ founder Chris Stone likes to point out that profit is the reward for giving people what they need and want. With a $29 million production budget, Warner Brothers in this case got some serious rewards.
During our spotlight conversation at Variety’s Purpose Summit, Mark Ordesky and John Shepherd talked about the need for a paradigm shift in the industry in which the family and faith genre will again be a powerful driver of the all-important bottom line.
“The mid-range, moderate budget movie is like on the verge of extinction at a lot of studios because studio slates are smaller in a lot of cases, and they are focusing either on very big ‘tent pole’ movies or on smaller kind of niche movies,” Ordesky said. “But if you have a motivated core audience like this, you can bring back the Mr. Holland’s Opuses and the Chariots of Fires…where Heaven is for Real is not a film that happens once a year, it happens ten times a year across a spectrum of studios. This is an opportunity…that will benefit everyone because everyone is looking for a motivated, core audience.”
The industry is beginning to understand the need for such a shift.
A senior executive told us recently, with frustration, “You know, we don’t have anything on our slate for your crowd right now.” At the same time, an executive with a well-known video-streaming provider mentioned that getting more family-friendly content is the thing that is keeping them up at night—it’s the priority.
Chris Stone will be discussing this and detailing other key points at Bishop T.D. Jakes’ upcoming mega-event in Dallas, MegaFest. On Thursday August 20th at 4 p.m. he’ll be on a panel called “Marketing in Faith” hosted by Debra Langford. Don’t miss it! Click here for more details.