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Family films perform strong at box office

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-04-11 10:53
Poster of the film Beauty and the Beast [Photo/Mtime]

Family-friendly fare rounded the bases to slide home as the box office's biggest winners in recent years, making up eight of the top ten highest-grossing movies of the past year.

Robert Olympia, professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics in the Penn State College of Medicine, reported in a recent study that children and parents co-viewing movies together is an essential part of teaching children how to build important social skills and to retain important messages.

"(Family movies) encourage the development of critical thinking and internally regulated values, and have been shown to decrease aggressive behavior, substance use, and early sexual behavior in adolescents," said the professor.

Medical student at Penn State College of Medicine and co-author of another recent study in Clinical Pediatrics, Victoria Heasley, stressed how co-viewing movies with parents could help children gain powerful insights from both the positive and negative themes in movies. "If you talk about the negative while also capitalizing on the positive, it can be a very productive discussion."

Watching a movie is a good way to share valuable life lessons with kids, making difficult lessons more understandable and easy to absorb, contend community groups.

One community website said that watching movies together as a family strengthens family bonds. "Spending time with your family greatly improves the emotional bonding of family members toward one another. Watching movies with your loved ones is not only an enjoyable activity for everyone, it also fosters camaraderie between family members."

Family Facts reported, "Doing activities with your family such as watching movies is a wise investment. In fact, children who spend time with their parents do better in school compared with other children...and score higher on tests and are more likely to graduate than those who do not."

They also reported that family co-viewing increases trust and intimacy between kids and parents, lessens behavioral problems and violence in kids, and lowers their risk of substance abuse, while increasing their social and communication skills.

Mic Network's Hannah Loewentheil wrote, "(family movies) are about overcoming obstacles, forming friendships and growing up, and they offer valuable life lessons to all audiences regardless of age or experience."

Clearly, stressed out audiences around the world are sending the film industry a powerful message: "uplift us", "make us laugh" and "give us something the whole family can enjoy together".

And Hollywood delivered Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Wonder Woman, Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Despicable Me 3 and Coco raked it in around the globe.

What do these films all have in common? They are funnier, lighter, and less violent, with more accessible and more human superheroes and characters. In the midst of shooting sprees and chaotic politics, that's a welcome reprise from life's darker moments.

Poster of the film  Despicable Me 3 [Photo/Mtime]

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a refreshingly funny film about four teens trapped in a videogame in radically different avatar bodies. It appeals as a rip-roaring action adventure that teaches the power of teambuilding and embracing one's authentic self.

Said Vanity Fair, "This movie is...a genuine example of old-fashioned, four-quadrant entertainment."

"We had a lot of laughs and got lucky to have the opportunity to do this funny, amazing project with an amazing cast with a studio that believed in us," said co-star comedian, Kevin Hart.

Jumanji's domestic cume has reached 403 million U.S. dollars to date, just a stone's throw from becoming Sony's highest grossing film of all time. Internationally, Jumanji also continues to perform, high scoring with 543 million dollars.

Another four quadrant winner was Disney's live action version of the classic fairytale romance, Beauty and the Beast, starring Harry Potter's Emma Watson.

Said Emma Watson, "I liked Belle because she was smart and independent and always spoke her mind." An excellent role model for young girls.

Andrew Millstein, president of Walt Disney Animation Studios, told Xinhua, "We always strive to make our heroine's stronger and more accessible."

This too was a family movie about learning to accept oneself - the good, the bad, the ugly, the beauty - and to rise above perceived limitations.

"It's a story about looking past a monstrous exterior to see the human inside," explained Dan Stevens, who played the Beast.

"Beauty and the Beast" racked up a monster cume of 1,263 million dollars worldwide.

Other movies like: Fox's The Greatest Showman; Disney's Cars 3; Warner Bros' Lego Batman Movie and Paddington 2; Universal's surprise hit, A Dog's Purpose; and Lionsgate's Power Rangers all cashed in on this encouraging trend toward more uplifting, family-friendly fare as well.

To give the father of animation, Walt Disney, the last word, he said that when developing family movies, "We do not think of grownups or children, but just that kind, clean, unspoiled spot down deep inside everyone of us, that the world has maybe made us forget, and maybe our pictures can help to recall."

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