Update on Faith-based Audience Marketing

By Robert Marich
   Dec. 26, 2016-The faith-based movie audience for Hollywood films gets star treatment in two articles with slightly different takes on the increasingly-important moviegoers influenced by their religious beliefs.’s Michael Cieply notes that boxoffice was soft for faith films in 2016. “The faith audience… is clearly taking a break from the movies,” Cieply wrote. “Actually, 2016 started
2009 surprise blockbuster The Blind Side pulled an astonishing $256m in domestic boxoffice for Warners with uplift from faith audiences

strong among the faithful, as they provided a secret boost to several among the last round of Best Picture Oscar contenders. The Revenant, Room, and eventual winner Spotlight were all quietly backed by a faith consultant, Wit PR, which promoted the films with sermon notes and world-of-mouth screenings among viewers who value inspirational messages more than action or awesome effects.”
   Meanwhile, the New York Times detects that movie distributors are courting faith based audiences with broader films, which often don’t have overt religious overtones. Writes NYT’s Brooks Barnes: “In doing so, they have tapped churches, military groups, right-leaning bloggers and, particularly, a fraternity of marketing specialists who cut their teeth on overtly religious movies but now put their influence behind mainstream works like Frozen, The Conjuring, Sully and Hidden Figures.
   The faith audiences specialist firm of WIT PR—led by Rev. Marshall Mitchell and Corby Pons —gets special attention in both articles.
  A blow to faith films was the big-budget, $100 million flop in 2016 of Biblical epic Ben-Hur.
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