I've produced three books, The Rock & Roll Rebellion, Faith, God & Rock n' Roll and Pop Goes Religion, all making the case for lowering the wall of separation between faith and entertainment. But if the result is both dumbed-down religion and comedy as in the box office flop Evan Almighty, it may be the strongest argument yet for reinstating that wall and keeping religion and the movies as far apart as possible.
In its aftermath, once again the chatter from Hollywood is how, despite another earnest and sincere attempt to make a movie for "those people," the elusive faith-based audience that came out to see the Passion of The Christ has once again failed to turn out en masse for a movie thought to be tailor-made for them. The problem with such an analysis is that it's not unlike making a movie featuring blackface and wondering why the African-American audience isn't interested.
Some experts like Hollywood box office watcher Nikki Finke are wondering if Grace Hill Media, the company many studios engage to reach the faith audience, was the problem. But that is misplaced blame, since Grace Hill did what it always does well: creating broad awareness of the film through faith-based media, months before the film's release.
No, the inability of Evan Almighty to connect with the faith-based audience is deeper and goes to the choices made by the studio, the director and the writers as well as the systemic problems with the way Hollywood has always done business and seems resistant to changing. Read More.