Two faith-films in Top 5 this weekend at box office
After ticket sales were counted for the weekend of April 1-3, 2016, the top 5 films at the box office included not one, but two movies with a Christian worldview. God’s Not Dead 2 debuted at #4 in its opening weekend, while Miracles From Heaven came in at #5 in its third weekend.
God’s Not Dead 2 took in $8.1 million for the weekend, while Miracles from Heaven made $7.6 million, bringing its total to $46.8 million.
God’s Not Dead 2 stars Melissa Joan Hart as a public school teacher who is put on trial for mentioning Jesus in her classroom. That cast also includes Jesse Metcalfe, Ernie Hudson, Robin Givens, Fred Thomas, Pat Boone, Ray Wise, and David A.R. White.
The first film, released in 2014, earned $62 million against a budget of $1.2 million. It’s now on the books as the fifth-most-profitable movie by percentage in cinema history.
The Christian apologetics that fuel the dramas were inspired by the apologetic book God's Not Dead: Evidence for God in an Age of Uncertainty, written by pastor Rice Broocks. His follow-up, Man, Myth, Messiah: Answering History's Greatest Question, figures prominently in the plot of God’s Not Dead 2.
Travis Thrasher, who wrote the novelization for God's Not Dead 2, notes that these Christian movie events re opportunities for Christians to stand up for what they believe. “I don’t think it could come out at a better time with everything happening in our country,” Thrasher told FamilyFiction. “I’m honored to have been a part of this powerful project.”
Kevin Sorbo, star of the original God’s Not Dead, says that audiences must support faith-based movies. “It’s as simple as that,” he told FOX411. “Trust me, if people start going more and more to that type of movie, Hollywood will start making them more.”
Miracles From Heaven, starring Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah, is the story of a sick child who is diagnosed with a rare medical condition—but her recovery defies medical science. The drama is based on the memoir by Christy Beam, recounting the story of her young daughter’s experiences.
Producer Devon Franklin screened Miracles From Heaven at churches around the country to promote its theatrical release. "It's more than a ticket sale at the box office,” Franklin told the Los Angeles Times. “It becomes real-life ministry."
Another recent faith-based film is still hanging in there: Risen, which approaches the Resurrection from the perspective of a Roman centurion, came in at #23 for the weekend. Its box office total to date is $36.5 million.
And if those weren’t enough for you, there are more faith-based films coming to theaters later this year:
Mark Burnett (who produced the epic TV miniseries The Bible) is behind a big-budget remake of the classic Ben Hur. This will be the latest take on the 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, an epic drama set during Bible times that has been adapted to stage and screen multiple times over the years.
Renee Zellweger will star in an adaptation of the book Same Kind of Different As Me. Co-written by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, the book shares about Hall's and Moore's intersecting life journeys as a homeless meets a volunteer in a meals program.
A crop of young faces will star in Vanished: Left Behind—Next Generation. Based on the YA books spun-off from the original Left Behind novels, this teen Rapture drama will be geared toward fans of recent YA dystopian features like Hunger Games and Divergent.