Results from a recent poll suggest that while nearly 50 percent of American Christians favorably view Hollywood, more than 40 percent believe that the major studios do not accurately represent their faith on screen.
According to respondents from a Christian News Service/Nicaea Movie poll conducted by American Insights, 49 percent of Christians view Hollywood positively, while 32 percent do not. The poll also revealed that Catholics are more likely to view Hollywood warmly, with 57 percent approving of it, compared to only 40 percent of Protestants.
Other findings show that one third of Christians (33 percent) believe that Hollywood fairly represents Christianity on screen, while 43 percent believe that their religion is unfairly portrayed.
"People would like to be optimistic, but they have been disappointed over the years. This year has given them some hope," Russ Jones, president of Christian News Service, told Variety.
2014 has been a breakout year for faith-based movies. Currently, according to Box Office Mojo, "Noah," "God's Not Dead," "Heaven Is for Real," and "Son of God" all sit in the top 20 of highest grossest movies of the year. This fall, "The Song" and "Exodus: God and Kings" will also be released into theaters.
An online poll done by Bible Gateway in March suggested that the majority of readers only want Hollywood adaptations which "adhere strictly to the details of the original story."
The week of "Noah's" release, BibleGateway found that over 60 percent of respondents preferred Hollywood adaptations that strayed little from the story. Twenty-eight percent asserted that "Bible stories are a good fit for the big screen and can withstand artistic license," while just over 10 percent wished that "Bible stories should never be grist for the Hollywood mill."
In a similar poll by American Insights poll, 37 percent of Christians stated that they believed Hollywood accurately portrayed the Bible, while 42 percent disagreed. And a majority of Christians (79 percent) said that staying close to the Bible's interpretation was a large factor in deciding whether or not to see a particular movie.
The American Insights poll surveyed 1,200 American adults, 63 percent of them who identified as Christian, between May 1 and May 8. The margin of error for their study was plus or minus 2.8 percent.
The study was done as part of a larger campaign for the upcoming movie "Nicaea," which will tell the story of Constantine the Great and the Council of Nicaea. The film will likely be released in 2016.
"The biggest lesson we saw was that historical and biblical accuracy is really important to Christians," Jones said. "That should give folks a stern warning that it's crucial to use historical data, historical facts and biblical themes as accurately as possible."
In April, Brett McCracken, film critic and author of Gray Matters, questioned what exactly the majority surveyed meant when they indicated they wanted a movie that followed the specifics of the Bible.
"Does that mean that we expect the film to not have anything above and beyond the actual words in the story?" McCracken told The Christian Post. "If that's the case, in the case of 'Noah,' there would be no words spoken by Noah in the movie, because he doesn't actually speak in the biblical story, except for one verse in the end when he gives the curse story of Canaan after Ham sees him naked and drunk."