Two weeks before the Easter holiday, faith based drama The Young Messiah rises in theaters next weekend hoping to take advantage of the season. Produced by Home Alone and Harry Potter helmer Chris Columbus, Messiah features Adam Greaves-Neal as a young Jesus with Sean Bean costarring.
Shot for a reported small budget of $16.8 million, this shouldn’t have much trouble recouping costs and then some (especially if it experiences meager declines in weekends two and three, which seems feasible). These Christian themed pics are typically tough to project and often do open larger than expected. Just in mid February, Risen (a similarly themed tale appealing to the same audience) took in $11.8 million. That seems a reasonable range for Messiah.
I’ll say it reaches just beyond that and, in doing so, I have it debuting even higher than Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Brothers Grimsby opening against it.
The Young Messiah opening weekend prediction: $12.7 million
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It happens sometimes and we have a late entry in my box office predictin’ business as the Christian themed drama War Room opens tomorrow on an estimated on 1100 screens. That’s enough exposure that the pic could sneak into the top five, considering this should be a lackluster weekend at the multiplex.
Director Alex Kendrick has seen modest box office successes before with his faith based works, particularly 2008’s Fireproof with Kirk Cameron. It opened with $6 million on its way to a $33 million domestic take. Kendrick’s last feature, 2011’s Courageous, opened with $3 million with an eventual $9 million gross. These are great numbers considering they cost very little to produce (War Room‘s budget is just a reported $3M).
I will be revising my top five predictions for the weekend as I believe Room will snag the #4 spot and outdo another newcomer, No Escape.
War Room opening weekend prediction: $5.7 million
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Darren Aronofsky’s Noah sails into theaters next weekend with some big question marks as to how it will perform stateside. It’s gotten off to a solid start internationally, but its faithfulness/unfaithfulness to the Biblical source material has received plenty of ink.
Russell Crowe stars as the title character with a supporting cast featuring his Beautiful Mind costar Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, and Anthony Hopkins. My estimate would put Noah in the #1 spot and I believe it will capture a good portion of the Christian audience who will be curious to watch. Whether they like how Black Swan director Aronofsky interprets the material is something that’ll be answered soon enough. If Son of God, which was basically a shortened version of an already aired miniseries, could debut at $25 million in February – Noah should surpass that and then some.
Of the many dozens of box office predictions that I’ve made since I began this blog, I must admit that estimating a number for this Friday’s Son of God is among the most challenging.
Why? Well there’s several factors in play. There are already stories circulating that churches are buying mass quantities of tickets for their congregations. This would lead one to believe that its debut could be quite impressive. Any movie focusing on Jesus Christ and the Christian faith is destined to play well in the heartland but perhaps not as much on the coasts. The all-time top February opener was ten years ago with Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, which earned $83 million in its first weekend.
Son of God shouldn’t come anywhere near that territory and this brings us to another factor in play. The movie itself is basically a cobbling together of scenes focusing on Jesus from last year’s History Channel miniseries “The Bible”. In other words, the vast majority of Son of God‘s material has already aired on a highly rated TV program. This fact begs the question: how much of the picture’s target audience are aware of this fact and will it lead to them perhaps skipping this?
Add it all up and this project from mega TV producer Mark Burnett and his actress wife Roma Downey has a very wide range of potential debuts. On the low end, we could see mid teens. On the high end… well who knows? This is precisely the type of project that could hugely exceed expectations and make something like $40 million out of the gate.
I will predict an opening in the mid to high 20s is most probable and it could certainly challenge both Non-Stop or The Lego Movie for box office dominance.
Son of God opening weekend prediction: $26.7 million