When sizing up which movie to see, buy or rent, some cinephiles might bypass the PG and look instead for the FF: Fox Faith.
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment announced its Fox Faith brand and label Sept. 20, saying the Christian market had for too long been "underserved" with entertainment friendly to its values.
With the tagline "Films you can believe in," Fox now promotes its "Christian" movies by an identifiable Fox Faith label.
A Fox Home Entertainment press release referred to Fox Faith as "a new consumer and retail brand." Only films "with a clear Christian message or based on material by a Christian author" will merit the label.
"It's an entertainment brand for the Christian consumer," said Elliott Wallach, who works with the Fox Faith team.
Movies carrying the Fox Faith label include "The Passion of the Christ," "The Hiding Place," "Woman Thou Art Loosed," "Beyond the Gates of Splendor" and more than a dozen other titles.
Fox has implemented Fox Faith sections in more than 1,100 CBA-affiliated stores, which include major retailers like Lifeway and Family Christian Stores.
Additionally, the Fox Faith label will appear on some of Fox's theatrical releases that meet the label's criteria of Christian message or Christian author. For example, "Love's Abiding Joy" and "One Night With the King," (opening Oct. 6 and 13, respectively) both debut with the Fox Faith logo.
The former is part of the series of Janette Oke book adaptations, while the latter tells the story of Esther in an epic production with appearances by acting legends Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif. Fox plans to release at least six Fox Faith films theatrically each year, according to its press release, giving each film roughly $5 million in marketing support.
Part of Fox's marketing plan, however, includes grassroots church outreach similar to that used effectively for "The Passion of the Christ." Fox claims to incorporate 90,000 congregations and 14 million Christian households in its direct marketing efforts.
Fox said it noticed a hole in marketing to Christians as early as 2002. Its home entertainment division thus began distributing films without a formal faith label to Christian Booksellers Association retailers.
It picked up "The Passion of the Christ" for home distribution in 2004, and then it launched a Web site, www.foxfaith.com, in 2005. That Web site has undergone revision since its launch, but it still serves as the portal for finding Fox Faith films, more than a dozen of which also feature free, downloadable church discussion guides and preview clips.
Fox says it has sold more than 30 million "faith-based" DVDs.
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.
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