Surprise! Faith-Based Audiences Love 'Pretty Little Liars'

Pretty Little Liars and Finding Nemo Split- Photofest-H 2016
ABC Family/Photofest; Walt Disney Pictures/Photofest

Attention, 'Ben-Hur' marketers: Values-oriented viewers like racy cable shows as much as 'NCIS' or 'Batman' as a new report reveals 'Creed' is a favorite among this niche audience but 'The Avengers' and 'Finding Nemo' not so much.

Paramount and MGM Hope producer Mark Burnett — a favorite among faith-based audiences thanks to The Bible miniseries — can help deliver a chariot full of money for the Aug. 19 release Ben-Hur. But figuring out exactly what appeals to this lucrative niche has been an inexact science for studios. A report provided exclusively to The Hollywood Reporter breaks down what the "values audience" prefers.

In a nutshell, the 52 million ages 18 to 59 attend church and pray more than the general population, are more likely to be married with children and are tech-savvy. And 82 percent will research how explicit content is before showing it to children, according to the study by NRG Research and Inspire Buzz. "Families want to be up to speed on popular culture but also maintain their values," says VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon, who commissioned the study. Mainstream and values audiences also were asked to list their favorite TV shows and movies.

The findings are perhaps surprising: Freeform's boundary-pushing Pretty Little Liars over-indexes among the values set, but Finding Nemo under-indexes. In addition to Ben-Hur, at least 10 movies slated for this year target the same audience, including Disney's Queen of Katwe and Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge.

This story first appeared in the Aug. 26 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.