Monday, January 31, 2011

'The Rite' is #1 at the Box Office

Here is an excerpt of an article by Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood:

Tracking had been strong but the studio had expected a gross in the $17M-19M range. CinemaScore was a "B". The audience equally divided between males and females, with 64% over the age of 25. The studio used Anthony Hopkins' pedigree to pursue an older target for the film. To appeal to younger moviegoers, it exploited the intensity of the exorcism moments and the premise of the unknown in the marketing materials. Interestingly, as Warner Bros was developing the campaign, the topic of exorcists became a current news event with the recent increase in the Catholic Church's recruitment and training of exorcists to fill what they characterized as an alarmingly growing need. This news got coverage, resulting in a high profile OP Ed piece in the New York Times. We bolstered that piece, and used a quote from it in the main trailer and in several TV spots, a very unusual tool that anchored our disturbing, effective premise that the film is “based on true events”.

Hopkins' pedigree is the core of the campaign, and he has done a very heavy press schedule on everything from Regis to Charlie Rose, and morning shows to late night. Additionally, we launched a significant Hispanic marketing campaign, through publicity, grass roots activity and a heavy media buy.

We also developed the faith angle through an extensive program with our consultants at Grace Hill Media. The outreach included drafting off of the topical conversation that was already happening within the church and allowing that to give the film a level of credibility. Father Gary Thomas participated in a number of interviews for us including an LA Times piece and a segment on Nightline that aired the Thursday before we opened. While this is a difficult segment to pinpoint in the tracking, the message of the film clearly has relevance for that audience and we feel that we captured their interest.

The campaign kicked off with trailers on Hereafter, Saw VII and movies throughout the holiday season to target both younger & older moviegoers. We built a mix of broad commercial films & older, more sophisticated awards films to get the right exposure.

We also ran a heavy TV schedule on everything from BCS College football games to NFL playoffs, and broad multi-targeted programming.

In terms of tracking, The Rite shows a pretty well-balanced balanced awareness and interest profile. The younger audiences will tend to gravitate to the suspense-thriller genre, while older audiences are likely to be drawn to the genre plus Anthony Hopkins appearing in his first starring role in quite some time. Notably, there were aggressive efforts in the last week towards Latino moviegoers, which could generate some upside to the film's opening weekend prospects as they tend to represent early boxoffice attendees.

As the campaign evolved, the nature of the story (centering around faith and belief) & the pedigree of Hopkins naturally led us to pursue an older target for the film. But we also wanted to appeal to younger moviegoers, so we exploited the intensity of the exorcism moments and the premise of the unknown in our marketing materials. Interestingly, as we were developing the campaign, the topic of exorcists became a current news event with the recent increase in the Catholic Church's recruitment and training of exorcists to fill what they characterized as an alarmingly growing need. This news got coverage, resulting in a high profile OP Ed piece in the New York Times. We bolstered that piece, and used a quote from it in the main trailer and in several TV spots, a very unusual tool that anchored our disturbing, effective premise that the film is “based on true events”.

You can read the rest here.

A Call to Arms: Oral Contraception and its Insult to God

Christianity does not simply ask followers to respect life, nor does it insist they denounce the everyday sins of humanity. Truly devout living compels us to actively defend the right to life, which is our duty as the children of God.  However, the defense of life involves education and exposing disturbing signs of moral decay. Heavily responsible for these recent immoral trends, dangerous forms of unnatural contraception are an increasingly-valid threat and widely misunderstood. Although the bible asserts that children “are a blessing to be cherished and cared for when given,” these methods of pregnancy prevention challenge those words with their blatant disrespect for life, increasingly leading young adults astray.  

Nevertheless, many families continually choose these “convenient” forms of contraception to control their family size. Even unmarried couples now frequently use these forms of birth control to recklessly satisfy their sexual desires. Even more troubling still are the countless young people engaging in sex freely because a variety of dangerous contraceptives apparently allow it. The use of these products isn’t just an insult to relationships or marriage, but an attack on the entire foundation of children and the family itself.

By largely relieving couples of the “threat” of pregnancy, contraceptives have legitimized premarital sex. However, when couples do view sex as an acceptable activity before marriage, they fail to live life for the glory of God. Children, for these sexually active, unmarried couples, become seen as a burden. As a result, the entire relationship is corrupted, with carnal satisfaction replacing deeper, worthy forms of connection. However, the mutual respect a relationship demands can also become secondary to the selfish gratification premarital sex provides. Without the sanctity of marriage, this disrespect can reach even greater lengths, as individuals become objectified as nothing more than sources of sexual enjoyment.

This disrespect manifests itself in society today in the form of oral contraceptives, which are an insult to both the family and children. Remarkably, these deadly forms of contraception are carelessly sanctioned everywhere, from the media to schools. They assist in the increasing sexual promiscuity of our nation and the rampant spread of disease. Despite being the most dangerous form of contraception, oral contraceptives are now the most popular as well. Unlike barrier forms of contraception, these pills are up to 99.9% effective at preventing pregnancy. In addition, they are cheap, readily available at family planning clinics, often at reduced prices, and convenient. Women need only take a pill at the same time each day to effectively eliminate the chance of pregnancy. Unfortunately, few young adults using this pill recognize the dangerous physical side effects that commonly occur.

These side effects begin with the dangerous implications hormonal methods of birth control can generate. While effective at preventing pregnancy, they falsely imply complete protection to all outcomes of casual sex, including sexually transmitted disease. Although schools frequently fulfill their minimal obligation, warning students about the dangers of this disease, the incomplete education they provide might simply prompt more confused young women to turn to this drug as a safeguard.

Alarmingly, the producers of these drugs are also accountable for these widespread misconceptions. Bayer HealthCare, the manufacturer of several popular oral contraceptives, devotes millions of dollars to advertising campaigns every year. According to this marketing, these drugs treat everything from acne to premenstrual depression. However, the FDA recently requested Bayer remove these television commercials, explaining that none of those claims have been conclusively proven and only mislead young adults further.

Despite the revelations about this drug manufacturer’s lack of integrity, the worst side effect of this drug remains the destructive physical consequences. Oral contraceptives literally disrupt a woman’s internal balance, altering hormones to make the body think it is pregnant. Although proponents of these destructive pills are quick to point to the decreased levels of estrogen in current products, many serious health problems still accompany these drugs, including cardiovascular complications. A recent Yaz lawsuit involves a woman who developed blood clots in her lungs after using this product. Because estrogen can play a role in blood coagulation and is a main ingredient, these drugs increase the risk of stroke and blood clotting.

The disrespect users of oral contraception show their body is a direct affront to God, as we are made in his image. Regardless of how users attempt to defend their decision to blatantly disregard the sanctity of life, they will never find justification in the eyes of God. Because it is the duty of all Christians to preserve life, it remains imperative to spread the truth about dangerous forms of contraception, especially birth control pills. These attacks on life represent an assault on decency and threaten to damage the moral fiber of this country until nothing pure remains and we are left with a wave of broken families, crime and rampant disease.

Contraception is not a sin because it can make women ill or lead to death. It fails to be a sin because it causes the spread of sexually transmitted disease. The use of contraception is not even a sin because it makes manufacturers of these immoral products disgustingly wealthy or tempts couples to commit adultery. Contraception is a sin because it attempts to remove God’s influence in reproduction, illustrating a desire to rule one’s own fate instead of serving The Lord. Unfortunately, the immoral sexual tendencies in modern society have gone so far that it is not only atheists and other misguided souls that must be informed of the evils of contraception. Even self-identified Catholics must be reminded of the promise they made to God which included the preservation of life, morality and reverence for all things sacred.

This is a guest post by Matt Phillips.
Sunday, January 30, 2011

Militant Gays/Anti-Christian Groups Target Chick-fil-A

The anti-Christian movement better known as the Militant Gay Lobby have targeted Chick-fil-A and tagged them as a "hate group" by liberal media such as the New York Times.

“If you’re eating Chick-fil-A, you’re eating anti-gay,” screamed Kim Severson of the New York Times.

Chick-fil-A has a Christian ethos* written into their organization and is beloved among people of all stripes, especially Evangelical Christians.

This latest campaign by Andrew Sullivanites makes it clear that when liberals berate Christians of "culture war" hysteria, it is their side that have a hate-fill animus towards anything holy and sacred, especially towards Christians.

*They're closed on Sundays!
Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bishops are to Blame!

Michael Voris in the Vortex addresses the problems and opportunities lost by American bishops following the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council which finished in the cultural upheaval of 60s dissent and disobedience within the Church in America.

Souls are at stake and our bishops seem more concerned about the next fundraiser or not leading with boldness and the Truth.  Instead they grovel to political correctness and stand quite on society's most contentious issues such as abortion and same sex marriage.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider gave an important speech recently where he constructively and critically examined these issues of episcopal disregard.  Especially in the education of the laity with proper catechesis and the lack of defense against modernism and dissent, which have infested chanceries with "yes"-men in which the Pope calls, "professional Catholics".

Watch this segment of the Vortex to get the full story:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Susannah York of ‘A Man For All Seasons’, R.I.P.

Susannah York succumbed to cancer this past Friday at the age of 72.

She is best remembered for portraying Saint Thomas More‘s daughter, Margaret More, in what is arguably the greatest Catholic film of all time, A Man For All Seasons.

She was very beautiful and enchanting and her role as Margaret More captured the essences of an integrated Catholic life that is an excellent example for laypeople everywhere today.

The following clip is that of the King paying his Lord Chancellor, Saint Thomas More, a visit on his estate.  The King encounters More’s family and is introduced to More’s daughter, Margaret, at the :45 mark of the clip:

Post script:  I was unable to find out if Susannah York was a Catholic or not, but her portrayal of Margaret More is a fine example of living a Catholic life.

Cross-posted at Gulf Coast Catholic.

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