Straight Outta Compton was the big winner at the box office for the third straight week, but not far behind, the indie Christian picture War Room took the weekend’s second spot.
The fourth big release by Alex and Stephen Kendrick is grabbing headlines Monday for its stunning $11.3 million performance. The film was produced off a modest $3 million budget, which is a considerably larger sum than the duo is used to working with.
While the strong weekend has already made War Room a financial success, the film’s limited showing demonstrates an enthusiasm for faith-based projects, and a number of factors likely contributed to the movie’s early returns, which have shocked some projections.
Deadline reports some contributing factors to the success of the film include a 4.5 out of 5 star rating from Faith Based Consumer, in addition to an A+ CinemaScore.
Black moviegoers also accounted for a large portion of those who saw the film, which features a mostly black cast.
Fandango also announced War Room also attracted bulk ticket buyers, who learned of the film from churches and pastors, who began spreading the word before production through a grassroots campaign.
Senior Vice President of Sony Pictures’ AFFIRM Films Rich Peluso said in a statement, “Sony Pictures’ AFFIRM Films, along with our partner Provident Films, worked to bring the movie and its message and themes to pastors, ministry and other faith community leaders far ahead of the release to help spread the word, starting even before production begins.”
Peluso added, “By opening up the story and characters to these leaders, we give them a sense of ownership that energizes them and help them plan out how they can use our movies as tools inside their own tool boxes.”
According to Forbes, War Room debuted at number two because of its end-of-summer release, which is generally a slow period with few alternatives. However, the numbers would likely had beeen the same, had the film been up against more competition, due to the loyalty of faith-based moviegoers.
Compton made $13.2 million over the weekend playing 3,142 theaters, while War Room was only shown in 1,135 theaters.
Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation came it at third this weekend, earning $8.3 million playing in 3,095 theaters.
The last Kendrick brothers film, Courageous, opened in September 2011 with $9 million and took fourth place, going up against similar competition.
The pair’s three previous films, Facing the Giants, Fireproof and Courageous made a combined $87 million at the box office off a combined budget of $2.6 million.