Deadline reports that this Easter weekend at the box office we have two openly Christian films perched in the top ten. Meanwhile, Darren Aronofsky’s anti-God “Noah” sailed over a cliff, failing to even rank.
Coming in at number three, director Randall Wallace’s “Heaven Is for Real” has already become the sleeper many predicted and will outperform with a $25 to $27 million take after just five days. The true story of a little boy who claims to have visited Heaven not only beat Johnny Depp’s “Transcendence,” it earned the highest per-screen average of the weekend.
Depending on the size of the promotion budget, with just a $12 million production budget, if “Heaven Is For Real” hasn’t already gone into the black, that sweet spot can only be a few days away. And with a Cinemascore of A+, it should have serious staying power.
With a $8000 per screen average and the legs under “God’s Not Dead” after five weeks, TriStar is almost certain to put “Heaven Is for Real” on a few hundred more screens next week. They would certainly be crazy not to.
Budgeted at $100 million, “Transcendence” is Johnny Depp’s third big-budget flop in a row after last summer’s “The Lone Ranger” and 2012’s “Dark Shadows.” He is probably putting on a pirate suit at this very moment.
As predicted by our own Movie Critic Assassins, although it has been in release a week longer than “Noah” and is still playing on far fewer screens (1800 compared to 2500), the unapologetically Christian “God’s Not Dead” managed to overtake Russell Crowe’s anti-God “Noah” this weekend. Deadline reports that in its fourth week, “Noah” dropped completely out of the top ten, while in its 5th week, “God’s Not Dead” came in at number 10 with $4.7 million.
Thus far, the $2 million film about a student who confronts his atheist teacher (played by Kevin Sorbo) has grossed $48.3 million. Moreover, with its limited release and a measly $2 million promotional budget, “God’s Not Dead” was almost completely ignored by critics and the media. On the other hand, “Noah” was hailed by critics, is playing on almost a thousand more screens, won a ton of free media, and probably had a promotion budget north of $50 million.
My guess is that Paramount is stubbornly keeping “Noah” up on so many screens in the desperate hope it will pass $100 million domestic. Right now that face-save is not looking all that likely.
Here are the top five via Deadline, where you will find the full top ten and regular updates throughout the weekend:
1). Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS), 3,825 theaters (-113) / $9.8M to $10.1M Fri. / 3-day cume: $25.8M to $26.1M (-38%) / Per screen average: $6,800 / Total cume: $200M+ / Wk 3
2). Rio 2 (FOX), 3,975 theaters (+27) / $9.5M to $9.8M Fri. /3-day cume: $24.1M to $24.3M (-40%) / Per screen: $6,088 / Total cume: 77.5M / Wk 2
3). Heaven Is For Real (SONY), 2,417 theaters / $7.8M to $8M Fri. / 3-day cume: $19.4M to $19.6M / Per screen: $8,000 / Total cume: $26.5M to $27M (5-day) / Wk 1
4). Transcendence (WB), 3,455 theaters / $5M Fri. / 3-day cume: $12M to $12.4M / Per screen: $3,545 / Wk 1
5). A Haunted House 2 (OPRD), 2,310 / $3.8M to $4.2M Fri. / 3-day cume: $9.1M to $9.5M / Per screen: $4,097/ Wk 1
Let’s take a step back:
Released earlier this year, “Son of God,” the expanded version of a television miniseries, has grossed nearly $63 million worldwide.
“Son of God,’ “God’s Not Dead,” and “Heaven Is for Real,” probably cost $45 – $50 million combined to produce and promote, or somewhere around 25% – 35% of “Noah’s” similar budget. Those three films have already outperformed “Noah” in North America by $50 million and “Heaven Is for Real” is just getting started.
Imagine how much better “Noah” would be doing financially had it not pulled a bait-and-switch? As of now, even with its foreign grosses, it could lose money.
Meanwhile, at the very top of the box office there not only sits a film with “Captain America” in its title; the entire plot of the film is a brutal and obvious condemnation of Barack Obama’s foreign policy.
Mommy, tell me again how we’re losing the culture wars.
Anti-Christian, left-wing Hollywood is looking at the box office tea leaves right now and feeing the ground collapse beneath their feet.
We no longer need them to produce, distribute, or promote our movies. They can either jump aboard or eat our smoke.
And that fact scares them to death.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC