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April 10, 2016
by Agnes Oh, PsyD, LMFT

New Mainstream in Hollywood: Faith-based Films

April 10, 2016 16:10 by Agnes Oh, PsyD, LMFT   [About the Author]

Easter may have come and gone but its spirit only seems to be rising and expanding. The fervor is especially evident in the string of faith-based films released in recent years, steadily appealing to and supported by Christian movie-goers nationwide.   

The latest of these is “Miracles From Heaven” – a new release from Sony which is already making headlines in the seemingly secular world of Hollywood, posting a solid $15 million opening (Howard, 2016).

Prior to “Miracles From Heaven,” Sony has released two other religious-themed films that have already proven to be huge success - “Heaven Is for Real” ($91 million gross) and “War Room” ($67 million) (ibid.).

In the last few years, these religious-themed movies appear to be gaining a more solid power in stature as the sustaining audiences remain loyal to the starkly different genre.

New Hollywood Trend

The new box-office trend seems unprecedented but not unfounded.

There have been a plethora of faith-based films in the last 30-plus years, but only in the last two years have they been more consistently and notably booming (Howard, 2016).

This shift is indicative of the new movement in the film-industry trying to match the new found audience’s quest for something more profound and spiritually illuminating.

Fueled by Mel Gibson’s outlier “The Passion of the Christ” in 2004, Hollywood is progressively reaching out to the Christian audiences who have long been regarded as somewhat marginal in the commercial market.

The current revival of faith-based films may seem a bit unconventional but is evidently serving as a medium through which people are seeking greater meaning and clarity amidst the proliferating confusion and chaos in today's world.

The new mainstream is also symbolic of the present time’s continual struggle with the ever so rampant violence, rage, and mayhem that are growing every day. It almost seems natural for humanity to search for answers in the stories told, and there’s no place better than Hollywood to make it all happen.

Secular Becoming Spiritual

Hollywood is known to be secular by the nature of its business.

Cinematic history, however, indicates otherwise.

Hollywood has been making Christian-themed movies for decades now and mostly done well with stories dotted with biblical tales at the box office (Blankenship, 2016).

With the sharp surge in the number of faith-based releases punctuated by their surprising out-performance at the box office in recent years, the divide between the secular and the spiritual may be narrowing.   

And more and more, the secular part of our society seems to be merging with the spiritual/religious sectors to be one in the same.  

It may be that the gap between the two worlds is no longer separating the humanity but rather bridging the diversity to make it more wholesome.


Blankenship, B. March 5, 2016.  Hollywood Hallelujah: Faith-based films continue box office success. Retrieved from

Howard, A. March 21, 2016.  ‘Miracles from heaven’ becomes latest faith-based film to hit big. Retrieved from

About the Author

Dr. Agnes Oh Dr. Agnes Oh, PsyD, LMFT

Dr. Agnes Oh is dually licensed as a clinical psychologist and a marriage and family therapist. For the last fifteen years, Dr. Oh has devoted her practice primarily in the areas of trauma, grief/loss, couples/family issues, and multicultural counseling, as well as personal empowerment. Dr. Oh is an avid proponent of a strength-based, relational approach to helping people as she firmly believes in each person’s intrinsic power to heal, grow, and thrive given the proper guidance and support.

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