EXCLUSIVE: Now might be the perfect time for more faith-based features to get in on the box office hunger that’s propelled Christian-themed fare like Fox’s Son Of God and Freestyle Releasing’s God’s Not Dead into the Top 10. True-tale biopic Noble is one such film aiming to join the fray as it makes festival rounds and screens for buyers this month in LA and NY before heading to Cannes. Deirdre O’Kane (Moon Boy) stars as Christina Noble, a humanitarian and author who channeled her deprived and destitute childhood growing up on the streets of Dublin, Ireland into a lifelong mission to help children in need in Vietnam and Mongolia. Noble founded the Christina Noble Childrens Foundation in 1989 and wrote two books about her life’s work. Stephen Bradley wrote and directed the film, based on Noble’s life, which also stars Downton Abbey‘s Brendan Coyle, Game of Thrones‘ Liam Cunningham, and Sarah Greene. Melanie Gore-Grimes produced the UK/Irish pic, which was filmed in Vietnam, Liverpool, and Cumbria. Michael J. Hunt exec produced for his Ansty Productions. Noble won the Panavision Grand Prize at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Dallas International Film Festival, and next stops by the Nashville Film Festival and Newport Beach Film Fest. Continental Media is repping sales. Check out the trailer exclusively on Deadline:
BOX OFFICE FINAL: ‘Captain America’ Smashes April Opening Record With Estimated $95M For Disney/Marvel, Includes $10.2M Thursday Previews; Year Up 6.8%, Weekend Ahead 23% From 2013
OPENING: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS), smashes April opening records with estimated $95M to $96.2M opening and ended up at $95M.
UPDATED, MONDAY, 1:00 PM: Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s final numbers are in, and it’s on the low end of the estimate to $95M with international numbers still coming in. But what a huge start overseas: The Disney/Marvel franchise has commanded an estimated international cume of $207.1M, with $32.9M coming this weekend from China alone. So worldwide, it already has grossed $302.1M to date. It’s about 47% ahead of the first Captain America, which made $193.9M overseas and ended its run with $370.5M worldwide in 2011.
Domestically, it should be clear sailing next weekend for Captain America as bowing will be the animated kid’s fare Rio 2 From Fox, which has already hit overseas markets to gross $55.4M. It hasn’t swung into China or Mexico yet. The first Rio made $143M domestically and $484.6M worldwide in 2011. But family audiences are growing weary of both Muppets Most Wanted and Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which have been in the marketplace for three and five weeks, respectively, so its prime time to come out with another family film. In addition, Lionsgate Films’ opens in wide release the Ivan Reitman-directed Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner, who must be exhausted from the number of press junkets he’s had to go through this year with Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, 3 Days to Kill and now Draft Day. Blumhouse Prods’ horror flick Oculus from Relativity hopes to mirror the success of Evil Dead. Oculus premiered at Toronto while Evil Dead also went the festival circuit last year at SXSW before bowing in April. In limited release from The Weinstein Company will be opening the Colin Firth-Nicole Kidman starrer Railway Man, the WWII film based on the Eric Lomax’s best-selling book.
1). Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS), 3,938 theaters / 3-day cume: $95M ($10.2M from previews) / Per screen average: $24,129 / Wk 1
2). Noah (PAR), 3,571 theaters (+4) / 3-day cume: $17M (-61%) / Per screen average: $4,773 / Total cume: $72.3M / Wk 2
3). Divergent (LGF), 3,631 theaters (-305) / 3-day cume: $12.9M (-49%) /Per screen average: $3,573 / Total cume: $114M / Wk 3
4). God’s Not Dead (FREE), 1,758 theaters (+580) / 3-day cume: $7.7M (-12%) / Per screen average: $4,416 / Total cume: $32.5M / Wk 3
5). Muppets Most Wanted (DIS), 3,052 theaters (-142) / 3-day cume: $6.1M (-46%) / Per screen average: $2,014 / Total Cume: $42M / Wk 3
6). The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL), 1,263 theaters (+286) / 3-day cume: $6.1M (-28%) / Per screen average: $4,842 / Total cume: $33.19M / Wk 5
7). Mr. Peabody And Sherman (FOX), 2,931 theaters (-368) / 3-day cume: $5.1M (-43%) / Per screen average: $1,751 / Total cume: $102M / Wk 5
8). Sabotage (OPRD), 2,486 theaters / 3-day cume: $1.9M (-62%) / Per screen average: $2,486 / Total cume: $8.8M / Wk 2
9). Need for Speed (DIS), 1779 theaters (-926) /3-day cume: $1.8M (-57%) / Per screen average: $1,016 / Total cume: $40.8M / WK 4
10). Non-Stop (UNI), 2,515 theaters (-430) / 3-day cume: $1.7M (-55%) / Per screen average: $1,040 / Total cume: $88.1M / Wk 6
BOX OFFICE FINAL: ‘Noah’ Rises, ‘God’s Not Dead’ Surprises As Schwarzenegger Brought To Knees; ‘Budapest Hotel’ Checks In Again; ‘300′ Passes $100M
OPENING: Noah (PAR) estimated around $43.7M for weekend’s No. 1; Sabotage (OPRD) tanks in No. 7 with maybe $5.2M; Cesar Chavez (LGF) in limited release. NOTEWORTHY: The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL) expands for about $8.5M and another strong per screen; Bad Words (FOC) expands to weak result.
UPDATED, MONDAY, 1:25 PM: The final numbers are in and Paramount’s Noah grossed $43.7M (which includes strong Thursday late nights that started at 7 PM of $1.6M). Freestyle Releasing’s God’s Not Dead did, in fact, rise into the Top 5 and was down only 5% from last weekend, having added theaters, but still a very respectable showing in its second weekend with a solid $7,468 per screen. “It took a village to market the movie,” said Freestyle co-president Mark Borde. “On every conference call there were about 20 people on the conference call.” Pure Flix, a faith-based producer of product, produced this picture and it used a marketing company called Working Title Agency in Tennessee to come up with a very arresting one-sheet. “They also had a pre-sales group for tickets and a social media team, just various individuals that managed the YouTube and Twitter and Facebook. To be honest, there is no way to quantify the results of social media, but in this case, I have to say that I believe the social media aspect is a very strong contributor,” Borde said. “The Facebook had over a million likes and they weren’t bought. Not one penny was spent and at any given time, there were over 700,000 talking it at any given time.” It was also trending on Twitter No. 5 and Fandango as No. 3, said Borde, who added God’s Not Dead was actually tracking in the past two weeks.
“We knew that when we showed up in tracking we were going to do OK, but not this OK,” said Borde. “If you add all that together, we had a sense that we were going to be very strong in the marketplace. But the key to success in this movie is word-of-mouth. It’s the reason it’s held. We had the smallest drop of any movie from Saturday to Sunday on the first weekend and on the second weekend – Son Of God was our model and we had the smallest drop again. What that tells me is — we didn’t increase the buys or advertising — that’s word of mouth. That’s better than anything you can buy. There’s a lot of luck in the movie business, but Duck Dynasty stars were embroiled in a big controversy right before this happened and they were on the front page and we had the first movie they were in.” They also had the very popular Chrstian pop rock band Newsboys. Freestyle Releasing will add about 200 theaters this weekend.
The Grand Budapest Hotel from Fox Searchlight expanded well with an $8.5M take for a per-screen average of $8,741. Opening next weekend is the Disney/Marvel franchise Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which is expected to take all of the air out of the box office as it opens wide and pull in the same demo as Divergent which had two good weekends in a row for Lionsgate and Summit grossing a total of $94.3M. Tracking already shows Captain America at anywhere from $80M-$85M or higher and it has already grossed more than $75M internationally since bowing this past weekend. It’s a total shoot-em-up and more bullets than there are extras in the film. Keeping the previous chart below so anyone who wants to can compare the estimates with the final numbers. Here are the final grosses for the Top 20 via Rentrak:
1). Noah (PAR), 3,567 theaters / 3-day cume: $43.7M / Per screen average: $12,257 / Wk 1
2). Divergent (LGF), 3,936 theaters (0) / 3-day cume: $2.6 (-53%) / Per screen: $6,509 / Total cume: $94.3M / Wk 2
3). Muppets Most Wanted (DIS), 3,194 theaters (0) / $3-day cume: $11.2M (-34%) / Per screen: 3,531/ Total Cume: $33.1M to $33.8M / Wk 2
4). Mr. Peabody And Sherman (FOX), 3,299 theaters (-308) / 3-day cume: $9M (-23%) / Per screen: $2,750/ Total cume: $94.4M / Wk 4
5). God’s Not Dead (FREE), 1,178 theaters (+362) / 3-day cume: $8.7M (-5%) / Per screen: $7,468 / Total cume: $21.7M / Wk 2
6). The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL), 977 theaters (+673) / 3-day cume: $8.5M (+26%) / Per screen: $8,741 / Total cume: $24.1M / Wk 4
7). Sabotage (OPRD), 2,486 theaters / 3-day cume: $5.2M / Per screen: $2,121 / Wk 1
8). Need For Speed (DIS), 2,705 theaters (-410) /3-day cume: $4.2M (-47%) / Per screen: $1,562 / Total cume: $37.6M / Wk 3
9). 300: Rise Of An Empire (WB), 2,601 theaters (-484) / 3-day cume: $4.2 (-51%) / Per screen: 1,618 / Total cume: $101M / Wk 4
10). Non-Stop (UNI), 2,515 theaters (-430) / 3-day cume: $4M (-38%) / Per screen: 1,595 / Total cume: $85M / Wk 5
After the strong staying power of this weekend’s God’s Not Dead and the stronger than expected opening of Paramount Pictures’ Noah following on the heels of the surprise opening of Fox’s Son of God earlier this year, is there any doubt anymore Hollywood that if you build it, they will come? That’s three for three … but wait, actually there’s more. Back in 2008, the Kirk Cameron-starring Fireproof from filmmaker and associate pastor of the Sherwood Church, Alex Kendrick, took a lot of people by surprise. On a $500,000 budget raised by the church, the faith-based picture ended up grossing $33.4M when it was released by Samuel Goldwyn. They did it again in 2011, when on a $2M budget, TriStar released Courageous that opened to $9.1M and went onto make $34.5M. Before that, in 2004, the Mel Gibson-directed The Passion of the Christ opened to $83.8M domestically and went on to gross $611M worldwide.
BOX OFFICE: ‘Divergent’ Takes $54.6M; ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ Zapped By ‘Peabody’ & ‘Frozen’?; Faith-Based ‘God’s Not Dead’ Surprises At No. 4 And ‘Budapest Hotel’ Another Strong Showing
OPENING: Divergent (LGF/SUMMIT) was expected at $53M to $55M+ and rose to $56M+ for the weekend, ended at $54.6; Muppets Most Wanted (DIS) was tracking at $28M, then opened and was thought to be $18 to $19M, then ended at $17M; God’s Not Dead (FREESTYLE RELEASING) surprised everyone to take the No. 5 spot and a wicked $11K per screen. NOTEWORTHY: The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL) expands to 304 for a strong $22K per screen; Frozen drops out of Top Ten after 18 weeks in release.
6th UPDATE, MONDAY, 2:45 PM: With an opening weekend of $54.6M, Lionsgate’s Divergent opened right in line with what it was tracking at, not $56M+ but still a strong opening for the start of another hopeful franchise for the company. It should get yet another good weekend as Spring Break swings into gear and before Captain America (DIS/MARVEL) debuts. The surprise of the weekend was the strong opening of faith-based film God’s Not Dead which debuted in No. 6 on Friday and ended up stepping up to No. 4 with a higher than expected gross on Sunday of $9.2M with a very hearty per screen average of $11,852. The question is, of course, its second weekend out and how much it will drop. Son of God from Fox took around a 60% hit on its second weekend out and Paramount Pictures’ Noah opens this weekend so it may sink to the bottom like a rock.
Muppets Most Wanted was a big disappointment for Disney, ending its opening weekend with $17M and change on a budget of $54M. Frozen is on PPV and hit the street on DVD this weekend so you have to wonder how much that took from its opening weekend. Same studio, too. And, as I said below, if Mr. Peabody, which took in $11.8M wasn’t in the marketplace wouldn’t Muppets have benefited that much more? Hopefully, for the filmmakers it will make some money in home entertainment. Exhibs wanted more family films in the first quarter and they got it, but the success of one film is gnawing the box office away for another. The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of those first quarter surprises for the industry. It opened in very limited release three weeks ago for a record-breaking $202K per screen and it just … won’t … quit. Fox Searchlight is expanding the Wes Anderson-directed pleaser to around 700 to 800 screens this weekend. Shouldn’t be hard to reach that goal. Final Top 20 chart below: