Marketing miracles: the modern intersection of Hollywood and Christian film cultures

  • Author(s): Benjamin Sampsona
  • When: 2014-05
  • Where: Creative Industries Journal
  • This article examines Hollywood's contemporary marketing methods towards Christian audiences since the late 1990s. Specifically, Hollywood markets certain studio films using a two-pronged methodology: first, developing an overt, conventional marketing campaign that pursues the widest audience possible; and second, creating a more hidden but still highly concentrated campaign that specifically targets Christian audiences. This second approach explicitly markets mainstream, non-religious films as spiritual causes in order to obligate the support of church audiences. This type of promotion attempts to transform narrative entertainment into spiritual ministry for both inner-church growth and outer church evangelism. Marketing these films as ministries also allows studios to utilize alternative exhibition models, such as encouraging churches to purchase blocks of tickets or even buy out theaters for the purposes of proselytizing. These strategies also reveal the highly concentrated and dependent relationship Hollywood has developed with Christian filmmaking, as most of these marketing methods were actually developed by Christian filmmakers promoting overtly religious films to overtly religious audiences. While Hollywood has generally shied away from producing overtly Christian movies, they have fully adopted Christian marketing methodologies.

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