Film & TV

Are Biblical Tales the Next Blockbusters?

Over the past few years, we have had to bear with Hollywood as it super-sized and re-branded the fairytale. In the past few years adult-orientated tales such as Snow White and the Huntsman, Hansel and Gretel: Witch hunters and Stardust have flooded onto the big screen. These blockbusters have attracted huge names, including Charlize Theron and Julia Roberts- but perhaps even more importantly; they have attracted masses of viewers. Snow White and the Huntsman performed incredibly, with an opening weekend intake of $56.2 million showing that the fairytale does not just belong to Disney animation and young viewers.

Despite the fairytale continuing its takeover of the market with the release of the forthcoming Maleficent (featuring Angelina Jolie as the torturous Evil Queen), it would seem that Hollywood directors have a new trend in sight: The Biblical tale. Adaptations of biblical tales have weaved in and out of the film scene for years, particularly in the 50’s and most memorably The Passion of the Christ, and Dreamworks’ The Prince of Egypt, these tales are set to take over Hollywood. Paramount pictures are set to release Noah based on the biblical tale of Noah’s arc. The budget is set at a breathtaking $125 million, revealing that producers are forecasting huge audience popularity. However, this is not the only biblical epic set for release- Warner bro’s are developing a film about Moses titled Gods and Kings and show confidence in the trend as they recently acquired the script for Pontius Pilate. 

This sudden surge of interest poses the question of why studio execs are starting to see the potential of Biblical adaptations. The answer lies in the bible as one of the most valuable texts for adaption. Hollywood is becoming more reliant on securing an audience with source materials, as we have seen with The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and more recently, The Hunger Games. What could be better source material than the Bible,  the world’s best selling book in history? Furthermore, as Paramount Vice chairman Rob Moore recently publicised, studios are looking to “connect with religious Americans who “may not necessarily go to more than one or two movies a year.” And there are certainly a lot of Christian Americans. According to a 2013 ABCNEWS/Beliefnet poll, 83% of Americans identify themselves as Christians. So, for Hollywood studio execs, it seems that the Bible is going to be more than just ‘the good book’.

Lucy O’Boyle

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