Finally Evan Almighty comes out today and hopefully this will mean the end of the tidal wave of Christian-oriented advertising. From free screenings for pastors to service project tie-ins to free downloads of video clips for sermons, they've gone all out for this one. For some reason this makes me feel even more icky than Passion of the Christ campaign. What this has proven is that we Christians will bite hook, line, and sinker when someone trying to make a buck comes calling. Note Christianity Today, a popular evangelical magazine, which chose to sell the cover of their magazine as advertising for the movie. Sure, they used small letters in the upper right corner to label it "advertising" [noble move] but how many people will be duped into thinking it's a ringing endorsement of the movie?
It'll be interesting to see how much Evan Almighty grosses as a result of all this. Since The Passion, this direct-to-the-church marketing hasn't been successful. But The Passion was somewhat revolutionary; it was Mel Gibson [who had a better reputation then], with the Passion narrative, attempting to market to an overlooked segment of the population. Since then, Hollywood got lazy, thinking they could throw anything out there, tell Christians it's wholesome, and see a return. They paid a price for that lethargy as movies like Bobby Jones and The Nativity Story failed.
Evan Almighty is the hardest they've tried thus far. If this works, we're going to witness an onslaught of this kind of marketing.
So answer the question: is it better to get wholesome entertainment at the price of prostituting ourselves or to have to endure the same old depraved crap Hollywood puts out that Christians will refuse to see? OR, do we just have to be selective about what we watch and not allow Hollywood to view Christians as a marketing demographic.
Something to chew on.