The biggest surprise this weekend at the box office was not the success of “Divergent,” which was widely expected to be the far-and-away frontrunner (and was, with an estimated $55.0 million). Nor was it the weak opening of “Muppets Most Wanted” (debuting at No. 2, with an estimated $16.5 million). Rather, it was the movie that opened in fifth place, “God’s Not Dead.”
Unlike the two big-budget movies at the top, both of which opened on more than 3,200 screens, “God’s Not Dead” was released by the small independent distributor Freestyle on just 780 screens, and yet the star-free picture (unless you count 1990s TV hunks Kevin Sorbo and Dean Cain as big stars) earned an estimated $8.6 million, averaging a healthy $10,979 per screen. (“Divergent” averaged $14,228, while “Muppets” averaged just $5,170.) Most notably, “God’s Not Dead” was an explicitly Christian-themed movie, of the sort that usually top out around $6 million over their entire theatrical run.
Watch the trailer:
Present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that “God Is Dead,” he must prove God’s existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. GOD’S NOT DEAD weaves together multiple stories of faith, doubt and disbelief, culminating in a dramatic call to action.
Keep up with Elev8 as we role out an intense inspiring conversation tomorrow about this with Pastor Broocks, the author of this book.