DATE: 4/16/2004 09:05:00 AM
Film Profits - Last month, "Schindler's List" was released on DVD and I purchased a copy. The movie is hard to watch, but an excellent movie. The media treated the release of this DVD as an event, perhaps as a reaction to the attention given the allegedly anti-Semitic "The Passion of the Christ." By the time "Schindler's List" was in stores on March 9, the Mel Gibson movie about Christ had made over $200 million at the box office.
"The Passion" was made on a budget of about $25 million, and the enormous financial success of the movie began to bother those for whom large amounts of money are obscene. The media carping about "The Passion" turned from its message to its success. The media, who scoffed at the idea of a movie about Christ's sufferings, began to use those sufferings in its criticism of the movie. Morning talk show hosts began to question whether it was 'right' for Gibson to profit from a movie about the suffering and death of Jesus. Steven Speilberg and "Schindler's List" was brought into the argument. Speilberg, they said, was donating all of the DVD profits from his movie to the Shoah Foundation. Surely Gibson didn't mean to keep that money?
In his regular column at The Ornery American, Orson Scott Card encourages Mel Gibson to keep the profits, and use them. In an open letter to Gibson, Card writes the following:
It looks like you're going to make a profit on The Passion of the Christ. Please don't donate any part of the profits to charity. Instead, use it to finance other films, so this faithful audience can have the visualized stories they hunger for. Keep the standards high, and the audience will only grow. This will do far more for Christianity - and religious faith in general - than any other donation you might make.
Remember the parable of the talents, and keep putting this money at risk in service of your faith. Remember that these profits were given to you by fellow believers, because we trusted you as an artist and as a Christian to bring the scripture to life in a way that no sermon - and no lesser artists - ever could.Card also encourages Gibson to withdraw "The Passion" from any award consideration. I'm not sure Hollywood would reward this movie, but Card's point seems valid. Hollywood would likely nominate to look open-minded, then shun. They've already rejected this movie. Why allow them any part of it?