As “Jesus Revolution” heads into its third weekend in theaters, it already has earned four times as much at the box office as anticipated. “For a movie projected to make only $7 million on its debut weekend, Lionsgate and Kingdom Story Co.’s `Jesus Revolution’ continues to outperform expectations,” entertainment review site Collider said.
So big has been the response that secular media outlets like CNN are even reporting on the film and its success.
The film — which features Frasier star Kelsey Grammer in the role of Southern California pastor Chuck Smith, who invites hippies into his church (beginning the real-life Christian movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s), has grossed $32.5 million domestically. The positive response and earnings have rattled Hollywood insiders.
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In its opening weekend, “Jesus Revolution” shocked the box office by taking the No. 3 spot and grossing $15.5 million. Based on its success, the Kingdom Story Co. announced it had added 100 theaters to the film’s showing schedule, bringing the total number of screens to 2,575. “The audience reaction has blown us all away, and we’re thrilled to be bringing `Jesus Revolution’ to more cities,” company posted.
Moviegoers have defied film critics’ reviews, with Cinemalogue calling the storyline “narrow” and Rotten Tomatoes giving it a score of 54 percent despite an audience score of 99 percent. CinemaScore also noted “Jesus Revolution” grabbed a rare A+ grade from filmgoers after seeing the movie. Moviegoers have gone onto social media to say it is one of the rare movies that can break records with a Christian message.
Co-director Jon Erwin said the cast and crew knew “Jesus Revolution” would be a special movie during filming but “didn’t know how perfect God’s timing would be in releasing it.”
Brent McCorkle, who directed the film alongside Erwin, said, “‘Jesus Revolution’ is all about love. After all, you can’t spell ‘revolution’ without ‘love.’ My heart for this film is that people who watch it have a stirring inside that calls them back to love, to getting back to the practice of caring for each other again, just as Jesus did. Reading stories of that happening across the country has been incredible.”
Greg Laurie, whose life story is featured in the movie, challenges Christians to bring others to see the film as a form of evangelism.
“Taking a nonbeliever to see ‘Jesus Revolution is one of the easiest ways I can think of to do evangelism,” he wrote on Facebook. “This film is full of the gospel and touches people deeply. We have heard so many stories of people accepting Christ after they saw it. We’ve also heard stories of people who went on their own and wanted to know how to become a Christian after seeing the film. Take someone to see ‘Jesus Revolution’ tonight.”
Ahead of the film’s release, filmmakers had stressed the importance of Christian audiences supporting the film opening weekend: “You vote for your content at the box office and opening weekend will determine a lot. It’ll determine how long it stays in theaters, it will determine Hollywood paying attention to the numbers,” McCorkle told “The Christian Post.” “If this is content that you want to see, if you want to see more of this, you have to go support the content that you want to see more of.”
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice