I just watched the Oscars last night. It turned out not to be James Cameron’s big night after all. His latest blockbuster, “Avatar,” rumored to be the big winner, lost out in the end to the war flick, “The Hurt Locker.” But can James Cameron complain? “Avatar” is the highest grossing movie of all time, having earned $2.6 billion dollars at the worldwide box office.
When I heard those numbers, it got me thinking that they are really big, big numbers. So I thought I’d do some math problems. If you add “Avatar’s” $2.6 billion to the $706 million that the “Twilight Saga: New Moon” movie made, then you’d have more than enough money to feed 42 million hungry schoolchildren in poor countries for AN ENTIRE YEAR! That’s based on the World Food Programme’s estimate that it takes only $1.50 to feed a hungry child through the organization’s school-based food programs for just one week.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that people give their money to charity and never go to the movies. That doesn’t make sense. But when you compare the money spent on entertainment versus the money that could save lives, it’s hard not to think deeply about shortfalls.
Why are these movies so popular? Well, it all comes down to the fans. Fans, people who are crazy obsessed about a particular book, movie, or sport, are the very reason why people on the other end are making a lot of money.
Fan support for "Avatar" started to build months before the movie came out. Wouldn't it be nice if somehow, the producers could have parlayed that fan base into some type of charitable project, one that could benefit environmental causes, for example, which the movie promotes?
That's what Peter Facinelli, the actor who plays Carlisle Cullen in the "Twilight" movies is trying to do. The Twilight movies may not have an underyling social message, like "Avatar" does, but Facinelli sought to take advantage of the huge fan base behind the movies. After the earthquake in Haiti, Facinelli teamed up with Rob DeFranco of the charity, "211me," and created "Twihards 4 Charity." According to its website, "Twihards4Charity is about uniting the millions of Twilight fans and putting their power towards making a difference where it’s needed the most. We are connecting brands, sponsors and celebrities to provide Twilight-themed products that you love to benefit charity."
Move over, Twihards, because Harry Potter fans were first with their "Harry Potter Alliance" in 2005. Started by a group of Harry Potter loyals, the Alliance has chapters all over the world raising money for urgent social causes and advocating for human rights.
Now that's what I'm talking about!
If legions of fans can make billions of dollars, perhaps they can raise billions too. So, if you are a fan of anything, or if you’re on the other end making all the money, why not try leveraging your popularity for the benefit of those in need? You can offer a percentage of box office sales to charity. You can conduct a food drive during opening week and get the food to food banks across the country. You can even offer free or discounted tickets or raffle tickets to a great auction prize for those who make donations to charities.
No matter what, it’s hard to find millions of people who all have something in common. Wouldn’t it be nice if that something was a desire to help others?
World Food Programme
The Harry Potter Alliance
Twihards for Charity
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