An Eighteen Year Journey to Reach Hollywood by Dick Rolfe, CEO – The Dove Foundation®
“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends,” so said Abraham Lincoln. This quote best describes the strategy The Dove Foundation has employed for the past 18 years with those in the entertainment establishment.When we first appeared on the scene in 1991, an industry magazine ran a feature story titled, “Shadow of the Dove.” The artwork depicted a white dove casting a gigantic ominous shadow in the shape of a cross over a video store. The caption read, “The Dove Foundation is using its family values campaign in video stores to promote an ultraconservative Fundamentalist Christian agenda.”
Wow! No wonder I had a difficult time getting appointments with decision makers in those early days. Once we realized how we were being perceived, we went to work dispelling that image by sending producers and movie executives congratulatory letters and certificates of honor whenever they released a movie worthy of the Dove Family Approved Seal. Sometime after we began this positive approach, a top movie executive said, “We appreciate Dove’s response to the movie content issue. You don’t attack us with hate mail….instead; you encourage us with love letters.”
Flash forward to 2008. We have developed deep and trusted relationships with many movers and shakers in the entertainment industry. They understand that our mission is to help them reach the “faith and family” audience with appropriate stories…not to bash Hollywood for making R-rated movies. Earlier this year we selected six movies during 2007 that emulate the best in faith and family entertainment for the Crystal Dove Award.
Mark Zoradi, President,
Walt Disney Pictures receives three Crystal Dove Awards
Our case to the industry is for better proportionality among film types. For example; since more than 80% of Americans believe in God, it stands to reason that movies which mock God may offend a sizable number of potential moviegoers.
To help the industry better appreciate the value of values-based entertainment, we periodically commission research studies that make our case. We published two landmark studies evaluating the profitability of thousands of movies based on their MPAA ratings…one in 1999 and an updated version in 2005. Both studies showed clearly that G-rated movies out produced R-rated fare by 8 – 11 times in net profit. The 2005 Film Profitability Studio is available online at www.dove.org/research/DoveFoundationROI-Study2005.pdf
Dove has just released a new industry study called, “Studio Report Card.” This report gathers all movies released during 2006-07 by each Hollywood studio and by the various ratings categories (G, PG, PG-13, R). The purpose is to provide data about which studios are leading in the production of movies within each category, and how those decisions translate into gross box office revenues. The Studio Report Card reveals some very interesting findings, including the following highlights:
The number of R-rated movies is on the decline – from 52% of the total movies released in our 2005 study down to 35%.
Most of the decline in R-rated movies was divided among PG (21% up from 16%) and PG-13 (40% up from 28%).
G-rated films remained constant at 4% of total film production.
G-rated movies are still the highest grossing category, well ahead of PG and PG-13 which are tied, and R which is dead last.
The studio lineup: Most movies produced by a studio in each category
G-rated movies – Walt Disney Pictures
PG movies – Twentieth Century Fox tied with Warner Bros.
At the end of the day, movies are not made in a vacuum. It’s up to filmmakers to find their audience and cater to those moviegoers with stories that entertain and don’t offend. Likewise, it’s up to us to send a clear message to Hollywood about the kinds of stories and portrayals that reflect our faith and family values – and then support those movies when made.
To find the latest movies that are Dove Family Approved go to: www.dove.org
The Dove Foundation® is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to encourage and promote the creation, production, distribution and consumption of wholesome family entertainment. We are supported primarily by donations from families such as yours who want to move Hollywood in a more family-friendly direction. All donations are tax deductible. For more information on how you can make a difference, click here.