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Barna’s "2012 at the Movies" Report

Barna Group
Last month, the Barna Group conducted an online survey about people’s movie watching habits and attitudes towards movies—which you can read about on their website. They broke down the findings by generational groups (Mosaics, Busters, Boomers, Elders) as well as by those meeting the poll’s criteria for a variety of faith groups (with Evangelical, non-Evangelical Christian, and people claiming no faith being the major groups referred to). Now, on to the highlights:

It was a record box office year and Evangelicals saw more movies (2.7) than the average American (1.7), the most popular being The Avengers (42%), The Hunger Games (36%) and The Lorax (24%). Puzzling to me is why fewer saw Argo and Lincoln (3% each) than any of generational groups.

Folks saw a lot more movies at home, with the average American watching 10 movies via streaming, DVD, Blu-ray or video. Mosaics saw the most (20), while Elders saw the least (3.7—though this group did watch an average of 12 movies on cable, satellite or broadcast). No info on faith and viewing patterns on this one.

And now, the more interesting statistics to me. First, only 1% of respondents say “they saw a movie that changed their beliefs over the last year.” Hmm. That’s gotta give folks something to think about who, as the Barna report puts it, are concerned “about the degradation of cultural values and Hollywood’s lack of a moral compass.”

But more interesting is that only 11% of people say “they saw a movie in the past year that made them think more seriously about religion, spirituality or faith.” I think this has more to do with how we approach films than the films themselves. This blog and many others out there are full of ruminations about religion, spirituality and faith provoked by a wide variety of films—many of which don’t directly relate to my own faith or even spirituality in general. We need to teach each other to approach stories as capable of challenging us in those areas, even if they aren’t directly associated.
As a final note, I would like to see a breakdown of the age groups in faith related categories—what percentage of evangelicals and other faith groups as well as those identifying themselves as no faith were Mosaics, Busters, etc. Also, it would be interesting to see this breakdown in relation to individual film attendance as well as viewing patters at home. It would also be interesting to see this breakdown in relation to attendance to the films based on their rating (ie, Argo is rated R while Avengers was PG-13).