Dear Box Office 2019,

Here we are again, at the end of another season. The holiday’s are always dicey for our tumultuous relationship because we seem to want the same things, but sometimes it’s difficult to discern. And your sassy cousin Streaming continues to steal more of everyone’s attention, which is simply a new reality.

You’re still my favorite. I love our times together. I love being in that hallowed space of a dark theater with a whole bunch of other people who are seeking something similar. We all want to hear the opening score and immerse ourselves into a great story that completely diverts us from our regular lives. We both know how that experience can stir our souls.

This week is always a good time to reflect on last year’s favorites.

Of the whole list of Top 20 Box Office films in 2019, you only showed work from five studios, and most of them were Walt Disney Studios. Indeed 7 out of the top 10 were Disney films, whereas in 2018 that number was 4 out of 10.

You took in $6 billion from the top 20 films alone, and most of them were Dove Approved films. Thank You. But dearest Box Office, you definitely indulged in lots of trash. Screen junk food. [I do realize the “approved” list has junk, too.] I know it’s hard to find films that draw the crowds you so crave, that also exhibit great directing and writing. It’s hard.

We celebrate that once again, families are the most important cohort for your health. Family movies brought you almost $4 billion in that top 20 list alone.  It’s all about your take, isn’t it?

Honestly, you’re starting to feel like a machine, allowing self-fulfilling outcomes by placing easy bets on the masses. I know you’re worried about that cousin of yours. Netflix broke new records in 2019, taking in $16 billion – more than the entire US box-office combined.

So we agree, Family Films mostly led the big dollar movies. And I get that smaller, independent movies can only see daylight if those blockbusters feed your appetite. But every year I want to make sure you’re also appreciated for the independent movies; those smaller movies are important to our world. We always need more movies that make us want to be better people – might actually make us better people.  Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers in A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood and Harriet are both awesome films even though they didn’t break the $100 million mark. Remember them? People walked out smiling and believing in something bigger. Best of Enemies deserved more attention from you too. Overcomer is a success in so many more ways than you even realize because people of faith are a dedicated bunch.

Now we’re about to go into the most agonizing season of all – the award season. As the one who strives all year to encourage great filmmaking that points us upward, I dread the way our favorites get ignored by the gold trophies. This is where you and I can agree, perhaps? 

Last night the world watched 17 films receive Golden Globe awards. The program itself was uninteresting, and exactly 2 of the films awarded were Dove Approved (we have yet to review a few of the winners). Did you realize that only one of the winners was in your top 20 list of ticket sales and Disney didn’t win any trophies. We’re often baffled by the awards, aren’t we? We care more about the people and the movies that fill us with goodness. Clearly we’re together in this belief.

I bid you adieu, Box Office 2019. Our work is done. To the studios, you’re now nothing more than a dot on a page. But I promise to keep working to make your nuances understood.

Sincerely,
Dove

Suzy Sammons
Executive Editor, Dove.org

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