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“The Jesus Music” documentary impresses audiences, critics in opening weekend

The faith-based documentary “The Jesus Music” posted a strong opening weekend, finishing fourth in per-theater average and in the top 10 in attendance.

The groundbreaking film earned an estimated $560,250 despite opening in only 249 theaters, a solid number when compared to the top five movies, each of which was showing in 3,000-plus locations. Even more impressively, “The Jesus Music” finished No. 4 in per-theater average ($2,250), trailing only “Venom: Let There Be Carnage: ($21,325), “The Addams Family 2: ($4,280) and “Chal Mera Putt 3” ($7,155), according to estimates.

The movie, directed by Jon and Andrew Erwin, follows the history of contemporary Christian music. Its solid box office performance grabbed headlines.

“‘The Jesus Music’ Illuminates Specialty Box Office,” a Deadline.com headline read. The article called it “an incredible performance by yet another faith-based movie.”The Wrap also highlighted the film’s performance. “‘The Jesus Music’ Rocks the Box Office In Limited Release,” a story on TheWrap.com read.

Moviegoers gave it an “A” grade, according to CinemaScore, which polls attendees on opening weekend. Mainstream critics also liked it, with RottenTomatoes.com rating it “fresh.” Robert Morast of “The San Francisco Chronicle” gave it three out of four stars and wrote, “Unlike most of the genre’s hand-raising fans, this film isn’t afraid to point out Christian music’s flaws and foibles.”

Ian Simmons of Kicking the Seat gave it four out of five stars and said the Erwins had “not only created one of the year’s best and most enlightening films, I’m convinced they altered some of the neural pathways in my brain.”

The film is based on more than 300 interviews and features Eddie DeGarmo, Bill Gaither, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael Sweet, Michael Tait, Amy Grant, LeCrae, Michael W. Smith, Mandisa, TobyMac, Kirk Franklin and Lauren Daigle, among others.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice