Bare Truth for Hollywood: Sex Selling Less

Sex no longer sells in movies, a new study by the Christian Film and Television Commission has found.

The findings, taken from an analysis of box office earnings in the U.S., were published in the monthly magazine Movieguide.

The findings show that films containing explicit sex or nudity do much worse at the box office, earning nearly 40 percent less on average than more wholesome movies.

An analysis of 1,120 cinematic releases over the past four years has shown that films without sex scenes, such as Disney’s Finding Nemo or Toy Story 2, earned an average of $41.1 million, while films with sex have grossed 38 percent less with an average of $16.7 million.

In 2003, the gap was even wider, according to the study, with films without sex earning more than double those with explicit scenes. The survey also found that an increasing number of films carry a moral message, with 63 percent of top-grossing films since 2001 portraying edifying storylines that follow uplifting and redemptive plots.

In contrast, films with an “immoral or negative content” such as Hannibal, the 2001 horror sequel to The Silence of the Lambs, or the bawdy American Pie teen trilogy, experience far lower box office returns.

Chairman of the commission Ted Baehr said: “This is a worldwide phenomenon. We found that international figures followed the same logic, that the good guys finish first. Clearly, sex does not sell as well as the mass media wants us to believe.”