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Box Office: Sony Continues Its Faith-Based Winning Streak with a Healthy Opening for ‘Miracles’

Box Office: Sony Continues Its Faith-Based Winning Streak with a Healthy Opening for 'Miracles'

No real surprises. Unless you’re one of those who still doubts the so-called “faith-based” film movement, which means you’ll likely be shocked by the $15 million opening take that “Miracles from Heaven” collected for its 3-day opening – good enough for 3rd place.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, there’s money to be made with “faith-based” projects (for film and TV), as more and more stars take on material that targets that specific demographic. With the box office success of recent films like “Heaven Is for Real,” and TV ratings hits like “The Bible Series,” “Son of God,” and “AD,” it’s probably a very good time for filmmakers/content creators with “faith-based” projects primed for the big or small screens. Hence, more and more similar releases should be expected… like this new one, which Queen Latifah co-stars in, opposite Jennifer Garner.

Sony Pictures’ “Miracles from Heaven” is based on Christy Beam’s book of the same name that tells the story of her daughter’s miraculous recovery from what was diagnosed to be an incurable, potentially fatal ailment. 

Randy Brown adapted the novel, with Garner starring as Christy Beam, and Latifah as a Boston waitress, who serves as “something of an earthly angel who befriends the sick girl and Beam during their visits to Boston Children’s Hospital,” and who, in addition, “steps up to provide comfort and a helping hand when they need it most, as her life ends up transformed by her interaction with the family.”

T.D. Jakes, DeVon Franklin and Joe Roth are producers of “Miracles from Heaven.” You’ll recall that they were the same team behind Sony’s “Heaven Is for Real” (2014), which grossed over $100 million worldwide, becoming the 5th highest-grossing Hollywood produced “faith-based” movie of all time. 

Last year saw the release of “War Room,” which was also covered on this blog. Another Sony Pictures release (via the studio’s faith-based TriStar/AFFIRM label), “War Room,” which was made in partnership with Provident Films, took in $11.35 million for its opening weekend, taking 2nd place overall and 1st place among new releases! This was in contrast with most early estimates which predicted an opening of less than $5 million for the film. In addition, as Sony stated at the time, the film’s opening gross was the “highest for a faith-based film” last year, and “the highest opening for any faith-based film” since the previous year’s “Heaven Is for Real,” which, again, was also released by Sony, as is this weekend’s “Miracles from Heaven.” So it looks like Sony has got this particular market figured out.

“War Room” also secured the #3 opening day box office of ALL TIME for a non-concert film released in fewer than 1200 locations.

And so maybe feeling somewhat more confident, Sony opened “Miracles From Heaven” on a whopping 3000+ screens – the kind of theatrical real estate typically reserved for higher profile movies with blockbuster potential. However, with a per screen average of just over $4,900, the film will need some help to match “Heaven Is for Real’s” $91 million gross domestic take. To compare, “Heaven Is for Real” opened with a per screen average of almost double ($9,318) that of “Miracles from Heaven,” playing on 2400 screens.

Other new openings of note include Lionsgate’s latest installment of its “Divergent” series, “Allegiant,” the 3rd film in the franchise, which opened significantly weaker than the first 2 films: “Divergent” (2014) at $54.6 million; “Insurgent” (2015) at $52.3 million. “Allegiant” opened this weekend with just $29 million, despite being released on just about the same number of screens as the first 2 films. Waning interest in the series, perhaps? Lionsgate struck gold with the “Hunger Games” franchise, which were world beaters, each making even more domestically than the first 2 “Divergent” movies made globally. I compare the 2 franchise because Lionsgate needs to essentially find something to replace the gaping revenue and profit hole left by “Hunger Games” now that the series of movies has officially ended, with the last film released in November 2015. Although they might find a way to bring it back; it wouldn’t surprise me. After all, Lionsgate is building a “Hunger Games” theme park, so why wouldn’t they find other ways to financially exploit what has been a cash cow for them? Maybe even a “Hunger Games” TV series; that wouldn’t surprise me either, given how Hollywood studios tend to operate.

Finally, as I expected, “The Perfect Match,” oddly enough another Lionsgate release (via Codeblack), dropped almost 56% in its second week in theaters, taking in just $1.9 million, and a total gross of $7.3 million. As I said in my box office post last weekend, when the film opened, it will struggle to get to $20 million, unless word of mouth is strong enough to give it the legs it needs over the coming weeks, before it eventually leaves theaters. Given this weekend’s figures, and its cumulative gross so far, $20 million may be generous.

1 1 Zootopia     $38,042,000        $201,807,497
2 N The Divergent Series: Allegiant    $29,050,000 $29,050,000
3 N Miracles from Heaven $15,000,000 $18,557,053
4 2 10 Cloverfield Lane $12,500,000 $45,176,639
5 3 Deadpool $8,000,000 $340,941,383
6 4 London Has Fallen $6,894,000 $50,089,820
7 5 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot $2,805,000 $19,275,840
8 6 The Perfect Match $1,900,000 $7,306,179
9 8 The Brothers Grimsby $1,400,000 $5,912,670
10 11 The Revenant $1,225,000 $181,161,538

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