The discussion began in earnest around the time of Disney’s release. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, in 2005.
Author CS Lewis maintained throughout his life that the books of Narnia were not religious allegories but simply contained religious symbolism – and these were certainly hard to miss in the film.
Many also noted the presence of Walden Media (owned by Christian curator Philip Anschutz) among the film’s backers. After Anschutz said he believed Walden Media’s plans should convey moral messages, a few critics described the Narnia films as propaganda, meant to saturate Hollywood with a conservative agenda.
But with the film’s success ($ 739 million at the global box office on a budget of $ 180 million), the industry has questioned whether faith-based films could become an established trend.
Director Mel Gibson had blinded everyone the year before (2004) when The passion of Christ returned $ 611 million on a budget of $ 30 million. It was quite a feat for a release well outside the usual summer blockbuster window, and seemed to set the stage for the movies. In regards to religion, rather than those containing Christian elements.
Like all Hollywood trends, religious films have experienced booms and slumps. The climax came with movies like The ten Commandments (1956), Ben hur (1959), and The greatest story ever told (1965), and films based on a similar aesthetic, such as Cleopatra (1963).
More recently, aside from a few rare historical events, like The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988, Hollywood has been content to occasionally repackage Christianity rather than filming Bible stories. A good example was the Matrix films, borrowing heavily from both …
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