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TOPIC: christians in the theater business

christians in the theater business 02 Mar 2009 10:03 #31043

I'd like to hear from other christians in the theater business.I'd love to hear about your philosophy for your business,the movies you choose,your opinions regarding the ratings,etc.
Thanks!
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Re:christians in the theater business 03 Mar 2009 00:20 #31054

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I began in the business as a young teen in 1946. I am disappointed in the way Hollywood has pushed the envelope to get more sex, violence and profanity on the screen. In the theatres I have owned or where I controlled the booking I would not book R rated films or films concerning certain subjects such as homosexuality. I believe there are enough films made around the world each year that an exhibitor can book a theatre without booking films with "objectionable" content. I left management in '06 but am currently working on opening a "family friendly" mini-cinema in my area and will stick to my booking policy which will include films such as "Facing The Giants" and "Fireproof".
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re:christians in the theater business 03 Mar 2009 02:10 #31055

  • slapintheface
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The old showman says it all.Out of touch with the world.Stick to your booking policy and your out of bsns.2 Christian movies in 3 years that have made money.I dont judge or sensor. The patron can do that with there dollars. 12 years of Christian education here. We played Religuous,Milk,Doubt,brokeback mountain.....The many christians that went learned about tolerance, love and not to judge!
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Re:christians in the theater business 03 Mar 2009 03:01 #31056

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Hey Slap:

I'm not judging. But as a Bible-believing Christian I have no choice but to refrain from offering to my fellow man that which God has said is not acceptable to Him. My booking policy worked well for the last house I booked. And there are more people with a Bible-based or conservative view out there than many in exhibition are willing to admit.

Regarding "Brokeback Mountain" the Fridley circuit in Iowa and Nebraska refused to play it and suffered no ill effects.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Last Edit: 03 Mar 2009 03:06 by revrobor.
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Re:christians in the theater business 03 Mar 2009 11:18 #31059

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Revrobor has nailed it. It's funny this was brought up just now. I've been speaking with him about this recenty, wondering how a Christian can justify showing movies they know are promoting ideals that are obviously wrong. It's not judging- it's clearly written in black and white (and red). His idea for an Evangelical cinema is pure brilliance, and I hope to help him with it in the future. Once someone steps up to the plate, others will certainly follow, making this world a better place one cinema at a time.

In my opinion, it's this "tolerance" that is getting us into real moral trouble. The more we tolerate actions that have been forbidden since the beginning of time, the more people think it's acceptable. It made me sick to see all the applause and tears of joy when Sean Penn accepted his Oscar for playing a homosexual.

Being "out of touch with the world" is a huge compliment- the world is not where Christians desire to be. What makes me the saddest is when an exhibitor puts profits above his/her Christian responsibilities. You can't take it with you. :)

Ratings? PG-13 may as well be R, in my opinion. There is no way I would let a 13-yr old see most PG-13 movies. Even PG has content that is completely unnecessary. I'm happy to see more PG's released recently. Since my son (11) loves superheroes, and all superhero movies are rated PG-13 (even though they are promoted on Happy Meals :angry:), I have to wait until they are released on DVD, watch it by myself and write down the "bad" parts, then either mute or FFWD through those parts as we watch it together. It's ridiculous. I would love nothing more than to watch them with him on the big screen, but Hollywood has made that impossible for responsible parents.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re:christians in the theater business 03 Mar 2009 11:51 #31061

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Hey, we've had the Brokeback Mountain discussion before. No need to rehash that one, in my opinion.

I don't see the need for anyone to criticize another person's philosophy or opinion here either. Srichardson asked to hear the philosphies and opinions of Christians in the theater business. No need to attack someone else's philosphy if you disagree. Just share your own philosphies and opinions.

I am a Christian who just re-opened a theater in Oklahoma. I've only been open for a few months, so perhaps my philosphies regarding booking and ratings are not fully formed yet. I approached this business with the idea that I would operate my theater in a way consistent with my Christian beliefs and values. I know that not all content of movies is acceptable to all people, so I always encourage people to pay attention to the ratings of the films. If someone asks me about something, I usually try to describe the more objectionable content in a way that allows them to make an informed decision about whether or not they would like to see it, or whether or not they would be comfortable bringing their kids or their mother or whoever to see it.

I only have two screens in a small town, so I don't need to play everything that comes along. It wouldn't even be an option to play many of the films already mentioned in this thread. I try to serve different segments of the local population, but I don't try to serve them all. There are some types of films that would never draw much of an audience here. Why play them? I rely on my booker to recommend films that will be successful. He understands small towns in this part of the country, and so wouldn't recommend a film that has a poor chance of success. As the owner, I reserve the right to veto my booker when I think he is wrong.

I guess my philosphy is not much different than that of any other small town operator. I am happy that I live in a community that largely reflects my values so that my booking decisions are easier for me. If you are unlucky and own a theater in a community that does not reflect your values, then you would have a more difficult time making booking decisions. You may not be able to exhibit the type of films you would prefer, so you have to decide which is more important... success or values. Personally, I wouldn't want to be in that position. I considered opening a theater that would have stretched my values, but in the end decided it was not right for me. If you are a person trying to decide if the movie business fits your Christian beliefs, then I recommend looking for a place that will best embrace your values.

I don't have a policy against rated R movies, but I already see that they will not do as well for me as PG or PG-13 rated movies. This is what I expected, and it proved to be true. My booker even casually said this is going to typically be the case. It may be because people choose not to see the more objectionable content of a rated R, or it may simply be because the teens, tweens, and kids can't get in to see the film without their parents. Either way, the path is clear. Less objectionable films sell more tickets. This may not be so much Christian values as simple economics, but I like it.
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Re:christians in the theater business 03 Mar 2009 12:13 #31062

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"It made me sick to see all the applause and tears of joy when Sean Penn accepted his Oscar for playing a homosexual."

Nothing says Christian more than that line.
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Re:christians in the theater business 03 Mar 2009 15:18 #31065

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this is a joke thread right?

The film industry is one of the most morally bankrupt entities out there, and cinemas (glorified fast food stands) are no better. And you want to apply 2000 year old christian ideas to this?

Best of luck, you have an uphill battle. If it doesn't work out, you could always try opening a Christian Casino or Christian Brothel.
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Re:christians in the theater business 03 Mar 2009 17:26 #31066

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We've been in business for over 12 years now, and the only R rated film we have shown is "Passion Of The Christ".
We are a two screen move-over, so we have a luxury of picking and choosing movies.

It is very difficult to pass up on "Grand Torino" and "Forrest Gump".
We have passed up thousands of dollars in sales.
But we have established a reputation as a family, kid friendly place.
People in town recognize the Christian influence on our booking policies.
And I wouldn't trade that.
Besides, it sure is nice to not have to worry about carding people for R movies.
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Re:christians in the theater business 03 Mar 2009 17:50 #31067

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striike wrote:
this is a joke thread right?

The film industry is one of the most morally bankrupt entities out there, and cinemas (glorified fast food stands) are no better. And you want to apply 2000 year old christian ideas to this?

Best of luck, you have an uphill battle. If it doesn't work out, you could always try opening a Christian Casino or Christian Brothel.

I agree that the industry is morally bankrupt. But not every film made is. There are Christian producers turning out some really good stuff. And "Hollywood" is also beginning to see the value of inspirational films. Fox is one of the companies that has a division now for handling inspirational films. Sadly most of the product coming out of "Hollywood" is garbage and that's what's being promoted by the distributors and being booked into most theatres. "Hollywood" has chosen to target the 14-34 year old action fan and has left a large segment of society unserved, the segment that wants to escape by viewing inspirational, uplifting and "family friendly" films. I've been in this business long enough to know that you can pack the house without resorting to sex, violence or profanity and have done so as recently as '06. BTW, the principles God handed down to us are for all time.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re:christians in the theater business 03 Mar 2009 19:08 #31068

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Wow, finally a topic to fire people up-this place has been real quiet lateley. Before this post gets closed down let me say that if you own a theater play what you like-let the chips fall where they may. I got into this biz 28 years ago(owning for 22)to run my theater my way-as a christian you can do the same.
Eveyone has to sleep at night, and live with their own actions. Personally I play a variety of pictures of all ratings and subject matter. Would I like more quality family pictures-absolutely. Do I think Gran Torino is a fabulous film and a wonderful swan song to an icon-big yes! Is Schindlers list the most important film Ive ever played-most certainly.
The common thread is that these are my opinions and values-you have yours and are free exert them over your business. If successful others will certainly follow your lead.
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Re:christians in the theater business 04 Mar 2009 00:25 #31070

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It's interesting that striike has chosen to "post and run". Clicking on his username, I see that his account seems to no longer exist. Maybe somebody was afraid to say what they think on this topic using their regular account. I'm not surprised. This is actually what I suspected and that is why I clicked on his username to start with, because I figured it was somebody's way of hiding.

It's so easy to criticize anonymously.

Yes, it is hard to be a Christian and a theater owner. But Christians in many other businesses also have trouble walking the straight and narrow. Grocery store owners may struggle with selling beer, wine, or cigarettes. Restaurant owners may struggle with opening on Sunday. Bookstore owners may struggle with the content of many of the books they sell. Anyone who works anywhere faces choices about whether or not they are going to do everything by the book, or whether they are going to fudge a little here and there.

I think every industry needs Christians, since I happen to be one. If I didn't think so, I'd better change religions.
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Re:christians in the theater business 04 Mar 2009 09:08 #31072

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not sure why you think i posted and ran. i posted that yesterday. i didnt see the responses until i logged in this morning.

my comment was not a critique on christianity. it was a critique of the film and theater industry. I was simply saying that it would be very difficult as a true christian to operate in this business. (more so than most other businesses) Clearly there are owners on here who are able to do so, and that is a true testament to their business prowess and their faith. They have obviously found ways to run the business without compromising their beliefs.

i am curious to hear the christian owners take on Coca-Cola, Junk Food, and Candy. These three things that are so integral to the movie experience have proven to be considerally more harmful than an R-rated film. These items can lead to serious health problems and in extreme cases, death. I must admit that i havent been to sunday school in a while. but it would seem to me that selling items you know to be harmful is clearly not "christian". any thoughts?
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Re:christians in the theater business 04 Mar 2009 10:32 #31074

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Oh you guys. Can't an administrator leave the room for a minute before the Shia and the Sunni start going at it? I was in a NYC German bar (the Heidelberg at 86th) one time when these ex-Nazi's started singing old marching songs (they vas drunk) and the bar tender banged a club on the bar and shut it off: "No politics." Consider the club thumped and "no religion."
If you want to talk about your religious beliefs please do so off line and personal with each other. This is a business to business site. Continued violators of this rule will be asked to discontinue posting. Thank you.
Michael Hurley
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Re:christians in the theater business 04 Mar 2009 11:46 #31076

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While it's true that it is very difficult for a Christian to operate in this business, there are other areas that are just as difficult, if not more so. For example, being a missionary in areas where Christianity is not wanted or tolerated can not only be extremely difficult, but life threatening. Or being a strong Christian and holding a Republican office as a minority in the midst of a majority liberal Democratic society. Sure it's tough, but we perservere because we know it's right.

I don't know of any passages that relate directly to consuming soda, candy, and junk food other than that it can lead to sloth and you're intentionally harming the body that was given to you- God's temple. But a person can still take care of their body while consuming these things, too. However, Coca-Cola in particular is partly owned by the Mormon church, so take from that what you will. This isn't the proper forum to discuss Mormonism VS Christianity.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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