Category Archives: Press

Why Christians Now Rule Hollywood

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“It feels like we’re in a special moment that has never happened before in Hollywood where you have this many faith-based movies being released by not just independent filmmakers but now the big studios,” said Paul Lauer, founder and CEO of Motive Entertainment, the leading film marketing firm for reaching Christian audiences. “This Holy Week there will be four major feature films in theaters at the same time and that’s unprecedented.”

Lauer launched his firm a little over a decade ago with a plan to focus on targeting underserved religious audiences, unchartered territory at the time. Months after opening he was introduced to Mel Gibson who told him about a faith-inspired film he wanted to release. That film became the mega-hit Passion of the Christ. Motive Entertainment led the groundbreaking grassroots marketing campaign targeting Christians through churches and other non-traditional marketing venues that helped make Passion of the Christ, an independent film, one of the most successful films of all time.

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Marketing “Son of God” & Faith-Based Films to the Most Passionate Fanbase on the Planet

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CREATED AS A TOOL FIRST

It’s vital for key creatives to be members of the faith community, not only because they understand the target audience, but that they’re also trusted by that audience. Unlike other films, where the sole purpose is to entertain, faith-based films are utilized as tools to spread a message. As Downes explains, “The purpose of the art is to inform, inspire, reflect, and model behavior.” To be a success in the market, the film must portray life as it should be, not how it is. Downes says there’s good reason for this. “You’ve got plenty of examples of broken families in Hollywood movies, but very few reflect positive family values, so there’s a huge void.”

son of god mark burnett bibleTo this target audience, purpose trumps all. Paul Lauer, CEO of Motive Entertainment, the company behind the grass roots marketing campaigns for The Passion of the Christ and Son of God concurs. “They only get excited when it’s consistent with their values and beliefs. If it’s not then it doesn’t matter how much money was spent or how good the quality is.”

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Reclaiming Hollywood

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Paul Lauer has long had a passion for media and its power to shape the culture.

Named after the saint he calls “The Biblical Broadcaster,” Lauer – membership chair of Legatus’ newly minted Hollywood Chapter – sees his calling as broadcasting the gospel message using the modern means of communications.

These days, he does that principally as president of Motive Entertainment, which brings faith-friendly movies to the masses.

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Variety Purpose Summit: Family, Faith-Based, Full Steam Ahead

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Paul Lauer, Founder of Motive Entertainment, cut his teeth on the biggest faith-driven project of recent decades – The Passion of the Christ. Early in the process, he took Mel Gibson “on the road” to meet with religious leaders across the country. Gibson would show the clergymen some footage and solicit their input on how to improve the tiniest details of the project. He took it all under advisement and actually instituted many of the suggestions that were given. Years later, Lauer continues to adhere to the idea that “you still need to get the Rick Warrens of the world excited” – but he has expanded his outreach directly to the consumer. Lauer believes that “there is the right home for your film.” You may not know what that will be until you see the completed film, but “you have to find the people who are objective enough to help you figure out what the right home for that film will be.”

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5 Questions with Paul Lauer, President of Motive Marketing

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As the Founder and President of Motive Marketing, what advice would you offer to those thinking about starting their own business?

Focus your business on a UNIQUE product or service that will differentiate you from competition. For instance, if you’re going to be a lawyer, don’t just do “general” law, focus instead on some specific form or law – like patent law. As a specialist you will always have less competition and can charge higher fees.

What are the key elements of any successful grassroots campaign?

Connecting a product with people’s deeper causes and “motivations” (hence the name of our company, “Motive”). Traditional marketing like TV and print ads appeal to people’s “external” or superficial motivations, whereas grass roots marketing needs to tap people’s core values and motivations. It needs to go to people’s “roots” which is one reason it’s called grass ROOTS. When you make those connections with people – through personal communications, events, materials, education, and other tools – then they spread the message FOR THEIR SAKE (not yours); the “grass” multiplies and spreads on its own, and that’s what makes a campaign go viral.

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Headlines

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Expelled Has ‘Robust’ Opening”
– Los Angeles Times

Expelled opens in the Top 10, and has #5 best per screen average.
– boxofficemojo.com

Expelled is the 12th highest-grossing documentary in U.S. box office history.
– boxofficemojo.com

Los Angeles Times (4/22/08)

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Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed finished at No. 9 in its opening weekend, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. Expelled… fared better than prerelease tracking had signaled. Its opening was robust for a documentary… With production and marketing budgets in the single-digit millions, Expelled had the widest documentary release ever, the Times reported.

Los Angeles Times (4/18/08)

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‘Expelled’ may defy low expectations 

“Expelled,” with production and marketing budgets in the single-digit millions, is expected to make no dent at the box-office…but it could dwarf forecasts. …Expelled faces an uphill fight in an industry that spends an estimated $117 million to produce and market the average big studio film, although as The Passion showed, the faith market can be a surprising force when mobilized. …Premise enlisted Motive Entertainment, the faith-based specialist that helped market The Passion, in a grass-roots effort that is drawing as much fire as the film itself.

NPR’s Marketplace (4/4/08)

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…Ben Stein traveled across the country on a bright red bus for “Expelled, the Road Show.” This is mostly the work of Motive Marketing’s Paul Lauer. He’s the guy who made Passion into a phenomenon by harnessing the power of this country’s 160 million Christians. Not the traditional Hollywood way. Lauer went directly to leaders in religious communities and showed them Expelled.

Filmstew.com (8/22/07)

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So what does a movie marketing company do for an encore after helping spread the word about The Passion of the Christ, The Polar Express and The Chronicles of Narnia? Well, after second-tier efforts for United 93 and Rocky Balboa, Motive Entertainment is returning to its Mel Gibson roots with the Ben Stein documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. If anyone can make this contentious bit of non-fiction fly…it’s Motive Entertainment.