According to Box Office Mojo, the top grossing films of the past 10 years are Shreck 2 (2004), Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), Spider-Man 3 (2007), The Dark Knight (2008), Avatar (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011), The Avengers (2012), and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013). What do all of these films have in common? They are adventure stories! What makes these stories so popular? They are popular because we all want to be that hero/heroine who goes out on a big quest to seek what is true, good, and beautiful.
The Romance of Religion: Fighting for Goodness, Truth, and Beauty by Father Dwight Longenecker is a wonderful book about the quest that we all take and the treasure we all seek. Father Longenecker shares with us, that inherent in our own humanity, is the longing for both the adventure of the quest and the treasure found. That treasure is God who is Truth, Goodness, and Beauty Himself.
We love stories that express this on the big screen. The box office doesn’t lie. Audiences are drawn to these stories because they are caught up in the quest of a hero that is representative of their own journey in life…or what they wish that journey to be. It’s part of their DNA.
The next time Hollywood moguls are sitting around wondering what the formula for the next big blockbuster is…I would highly recommend they read The Romance of Religion. They may be surprised that the formula has always been the same.