by Dick Rolfe, President/CEO
At The Dove Foundation, we’re always seeking ways to reach out to various segments of movie-going public. Our target has been Faith and Family audiences. Dove standards are used for awarding the Dove Seal to those movies that are acceptable for folks who embrace traditional values.
New York Magazine online recently selected Dove criteria as the trusted source for an unusual purpose in their story titled, “What’s the Raunchiest R-Rated Comedy of the Summer?” To appraise the raunchiest movies, the writer used Dove’s content chart which records the levels of sex, violence, language, nudity, drugs and alcohol use, and other negative behavior. Adding the Dove content ratings numbers together produced the following results (“0” meaning none and “5” meaning over-the-top).
Bridesmaids— Dove Score: 17 (Sex 4, Language 5, Violence 2, Drugs 2, Nudity 2, Other 2)
Friends with Benefits – Dove Score: 19 (Sex 4, Language 5, Violence 2, Drugs 3, Nudity 3, Other 2)
Horrible Bosses –Dove Score: 19 (Sex 4, Language 5, Violence 2, Drugs 4, Nudity 2, Other 2)
Bad Teacher – Dove Score: 20 (Sex 4, Language 5, Violence 1, Drugs 4, Nudity 3, Other 3)
The Change-up – Dove Score: 20 (Sex 4, Language 5, Violence 2, Drugs 4, Nudity 3, Other 2)
30 Minutes or Less –As of the printing of the NY Magazine story, this movie had not been screened by our reviewer. So as not to exclude this title from its “seedy” place in the raunchy summer lineup, here are the stats. Dove Score: 22 (Sex 4, Language 5, Violence 3, Drugs 3, Nudity 4, Other 3)
Tied for the dubious honor of 1st Place as the “Raunchiest Comedy of the Summer” is— Hangover II – Dove Score: 22 (Sex 4, Language 5, Violence 2, Drugs 5, Nudity 4, Other 2)
These seven films totaled over $750 million dollars at the box office for an average of $107 million each. These numbers point to a trend that threatens family-oriented summer releases which have always been a staple in theaters. This summer the movies themes are putting more emphasis on violence and sexploitation than on respect, honor and integrity. I am concerned that unless families show more support for wholesome-themed movies, this downward spiral will continue and at an accelerated pace.
The good news
On the family friendly side of the equation; the Dove Seal is also well represented in theaters this year. Eighteen Family Approved movies garnered box office revenue totaling over $1.2 billion ($66 million average per film) as of this writing. Box office successes like CARS II, THOR, and RIO helped the averages.
One inspirational title made it to the Big Screen this summer is SOUL SURFER, the compelling story of Bethany Hamilton who at age thirteen lost her arm to a shark. While it received rave reviews from theater-goers of all stripes, this powerful movie performed modestly at the box office at $44 million, well below the average gross of this year’s Dove-approved movies.
Knowing what is good is only part of the equation. Supporting what is good is what really counts. Movie goers will have a chance to support what is good on Friday, September 30th when COURAGEOUS comes to a theater near you. Many organizations and churches (including my own) are purchasing entire theater timeslots and inviting members and un-churched loved ones and neighbors to witness the story of four fathers who are challenged to be all they can be, by protecting and serving their families. Every ticket sold—every person in attendance on opening weekend—will help determine the longevity of this film in theaters and beyond.
As Dr. Laura would say, “Now go do the right thing!”