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How a Faith-Based Strategy Pushed ‘Blind Side’ to No. 1 at Box Office Beating New Moon

March 20, 2010

I’ve seen the movie the Blind Side twice in the theater already… I never see movies in the theater and I can’t think of another time I’ve seen a movie twice! But I really enjoyed this film, enough to bring my family on Thanksgiving after seeing it the week before. This article was interesting to me, perhaps it will be to you as well. It’s seems with all the doom and gloom in the world today, viewers may be searching for something to lift their spirits a bit. A movie to showcase real values, and inspire us to be a little better version of the people we are now. I for one, know I’ve been richly blessed. I’m grateful for so much…this movie made me even more thankful for the many, many blessing I have in my life.

Warm Regards,
Robin

Grace Hill’s Jonathan Bock Tells M&V Why More Brands Should Work With the ‘Niche’ Market of the Faithful.
by Andrew Hampp
Published: December 08, 2009

LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) — Not just any movie can unseat “New Moon” in its third weekend at the box office. So when “The Blind Side,” also in its third weekend, usurped the tween vampire blockbuster on Sunday by grossing $20.4 million to the “Twilight” sequel’s $15.7 million, more than a few eyebrows in Hollywood were raised.

Warner Bros. Entertainment

Warner Bros. production partners Alcon Entertainment tapped Grace Hill Media to connect ‘The Blind Side’s’ message with its network of Christian media outlets. But then again, most movies don’t have the unexpectedly foolproof movie-marketing formula of Sandra Bullock, a true sports story and movie-going Christians.

If that latter nugget of news was in your blind side, you’re not alone. Warner Bros. and the movie’s production partners at Alcon Entertainment have been quietly reaching out to the Christian community in a big way through their work with Grace Hill Media, a movie-marketing firm geared toward the churchgoing crowd.

“When you open on Nov. 20 and you’re opening against the sequel to ‘Twilight,’ and you know that the ‘Twilight’ opening weekend did $69 million and ‘New Moon’ should do better, one of the things that crosses your mind is, ‘Who isn’t going to go to “Twilight”?'” said Richard Ingber, president of worldwide marketing at Alcon Entertainment. “I don’t know that much about the ‘New Moon’ audience, but I would imagine there’s a lot of faith-based people not into ‘New Moon’ and vampires who might be into ‘The Blind Side.'”

Enter Grace Hill Media. Led by Jonathan Bock, a Warner Bros. publicity veteran who worked on Christian-friendly films such as “The Green Mile” and “My Dog Skip,” the company has helped market some 285 movies to the Christian circuit since 2000 through its database of 155,000 ministry professionals and more than 1 million consumers. When a movie with religious or spiritual themes is about to hit the marketplace, studios often tap Grace Hill to connect the film’s message with its network of Christian media outlets or its highly valuable online community of ministry professionals who use relevant clips from new movies to give a pop-culture focus to their video-enabled Sunday sermons.

In the case of “The Blind Side,” more than 20,000 churches have downloaded clips about the film’s real-life story of a homeless African-American youth, Michael Oher (played by Quinton Aaron), who was adopted by a Tennessee mother, Leigh Anne Tuohy (Ms. Bullock), and played high-school football in Memphis before he was eventually picked to play for the NFL by the Baltimore Ravens. Couple those downloads with an average congregation size of 400 people, and Warner Bros. and Alcon got exposure to 8 million of the people most likely to see their movie.

Reaching the fathers and sons of those households, as well as moms, would also explain why “The Blind Side’s” audience has been a lot more balanced than most industry insiders predicted for a film starring Ms. Bullock, whose work tends to skew heavily female (as does the “Twilight” saga, for that matter). Of the movie’s opening-weekend attendees, 41% were male, which helped the film surpass the “Rocky” franchise and “The Longest Yard” remake as the highest-grossing debut for a sports movie.

http://adage.com/madisonandvine/article?article_id=140944

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