San Francisco Chronicle
by Hugh Hart
Family fare: It’s been a boon time for family films this fall, with six of the top 10 movies over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend having kid-friendly themes. “The Game Plan” ($88 million), “Bee Movie” ($118 million) and “Enchanted” ($70 million) have sparkled at the box office amid a generally lackluster fourth quarter.
The Dove Foundation couldn’t be happier. Unlike the adversarial tactics of the boycott-prone Catholic League, which charged “The Golden Compass” with harboring an anti-religion agenda, Dove works closely with studios to encourage faith-friendly projects. The payoff for studios with PG-13 and G-rated projects: If Dove movie reviewers like what they see, studios are authorized to display the Dove Seal on posters, advertisements and Web sites.
That logo can serve as a powerful marketing tool.
Dove Chief Executive Officer Dick Rolfe recently reached by cell phone from Albany, Ga., where he was visiting the set of “Fireproof,” a film being produced by the Sherwood Baptist Church. The new picture follows in the wake of last year’s Sherwood-financed hit “Facing the Giants.” That movie, about a football coach and his pastor, cost $100,000 to make and raked in $14 million.
“The success of movies like ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ and ‘The Passion of the Christ’ made Hollywood sit up and take notice that there was a huge audience being underserved,” Rolfe says of Christian-themed films. “Studios became interested in finding ways of intersecting with or exploiting that audience.”
Rolfe and other parents started the Grand Rapids, Mich., Dove Foundation 17 years ago to create a guide to what they consider “safe” family viewing. These days, Dove has about 500,000 contributors and draws 2 million hits a month to its Web site ( www.dove.org).
“We have as much or more experience than most organizations do in reaching American families,” Rolfe says, “and we have a sensitivity to what they’re looking for in the way of entertainment.”
Hugh Hart is a Chronicle correspondent.
This article appeared on page N – 29 of the San Francisco Chronicle