The website ChristianCinema.com is launching its first Christian Movie Madness tournament, an attempt to bring the “bracketology” of college basketball to faith-based cinema.
Movies will be divided into “conferences” based on various themes: faith and theology; Bible stories and epics; Love and Romance; comedy; sports; action/adventure; hot social topics; and true stories.
According to the website: “If you’ve ever argued that 'Son of God' is better than 'The Passion of the Christ,' that Aslan’s 'Chronicles of Narnia' trumps Gandalf’s 'Lord of the Rings,' or that neither 'When the Game Stands Tall' nor '23 Blast' could measure up to 'Facing the Giants,' you’re not going to want to miss this!”
Voting in the tournaments is open now. The championship will take place April 2.
It's become fashionable in recent years to apply bracketology to popular culture. The radio station WNYC recently held a voting tournament to decide on the most popular television character of all time, and the entertainment site Grantland did the same to decide the pop song of the millennium.
The hipness factor makes the Christian Movie Madness tournament an interesting move from the faith-based media community, whose marketing efforts can sometimes seem a little out of touch. “Old Fashioned,” a romantic comedy-drama that pitched itself as a wholesome alternative to “Fifty Shades of Grey” during Valentine's Day weekend, failed to draw much attention. “The Identical,” an Elvis-inspired film with a pro-Christian, pro-Israel theme, was so roundly trashed by critics that the studio made 15 minutes of the film available for free online in the hopes of spreading positive word of mouth. The film nevertheless stalled commercially, earning just $2.8 million.
Meanwhile, the Christian film-review site Movieguide posts yearly lists of “conservative” and “faith and freedom” movies that have excelled at the box office, seemingly in an effort to prove that traditional values are more popular than liberal ones. The site's criteria, however, are unclear. Among the site's co-called conservative films have been “Wall-E,” “Godzilla” and “The Lego Movie,” while its so-called liberal films included “Maleficent” and “Boyhood.”
Whether the Christian Movie Madness concept will make any converts remains to be seen, but it may work handily as a way to introduce viewers to scores of faith-friendly films.
“We understand that audiences have not seen every movie in the competition,” said Jared Geesey, senior vice president of ChristianCinema.com, in a press release, “so we are providing links to trailers and story synopses on each voting page, as well as the option to buy the DVD or watch eligible films immediately with Digital on Demand. At the very least, audiences will be exposed to more movies, meeting our goal to bolster the entire Christian film industry.”