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:
Jon Stewart has deconstructed the media’s consternation over Hollywood’s depiction of religion in Noah and Son Of God — particularly Fox News Channel and CNN. Fortunately for Paramount, which distributes Noah, and 20th Century Fox, which distributes Son Of God (a repurposing of History’s hit 10-hour miniseries …
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 FINAL: ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’ Commands $45M; ‘Mr. Peabody’ Chases In $32.2M; ‘Son Of God’ Falls 59% In Second Weekend, ‘Budapest Hotel’ Per Screen Stuns With Over $202K
OPENING: 300: Rise of An Empire (WB) commands $43M to $45M and ended on the high end; Mr. Peabody And Sherman (FOX) $29M to $31M and made $32.5M; Son of God (FOX) dropped 61% in its second weekend. NOTEWORTHY: Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave (FOX) re-upped to 1,065 screens and breaks back into the top ten. The Grand Budapest Hotel on four screens in L.A. and N.Y. a phenomenal, record-breaking per screen for a live-action film of $192,250 and might climb to $200,000.
5TH UPDATE, MONDAY, 1: 30 PM: The final numbers are in with The Grand Budapest Hotel pulling in $811,000 for Fox Searchlight to take in a per-screen average of $202K+ on four screens. High end of yesterday’s estimate. Warner Bros.’ and Legendary Pictures’ 300: Rise Of An Empire was on the money with yesterday’s cume and Mr. Peabody And Sherman‘s numbers were almost in line with yesterday’s while the ten spot was finally figured out … it went to Ride Along, not RoboCop – but only by a hair. We are keeping in yesterday’s chart below for comparisons for those of you who want to see the differences (i.e. Son Of God down 59% instead of 61%, so Sunday’s numbers were slightly better than expected).
Next weekend’s openers are Disney’s Need For Speed, Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry’s Single Mom’s Club going wide and in limited release will be Focus Features’ Bad Words, Warner Bros’ Vernonica Mars (also on VOD), and The Weinstein Company’s One Chance. Here is the Top 20:
1). 300: Rise Of An Empire (WB), 3,470 theaters / 3-day cume: $45M / Per screen: $13,006 / Wk 1
2). Mr. Peabody And Sherman (FOX) 3,934 theaters / 3-day cume: $32.2M / Per screen: $8,187 / Wk 1
3). Non-Stop (UNI), 3,113 theaters (+23) / 3-day cume: $15.8M (-45%) / Per screen: $5,085 / Total cume: $52.5M / Wk 2
4). The Lego Movie (WB), 3,290 theaters (-480) / 3-day cume: $10.9M (-48%) / Per screen: $3,317 / Total cume: 224.8M / Wk 5
5). Son Of God (FOX), 3,271 theaters (+11) / 3-day cume: $10.3M (-59%) / Per screen: $3,173 / Total cume: $41.8M / Wk 2
6). Monuments Men (SONY), 2,001 theaters (-1,001) / 3-day cume: $3M (-38%) / Per screen: $1,537/ Total cume: $70.5M / Wk 5
7). 3 Days To Kill (REL), 2,348 theaters (-543) / 3-day cume: $3M (-39%) / Per screen: $1,282 / Total cume: $25.5M / Wk 3
8). Frozen (DIS), 1,660 theaters (-86) / 3-day cume: $2.9M (-19%) / Per screen: $1,780 / Total cume: $392.9M / Wk 16
9). 12 Years A Slave (FSL) 1,065 theaters (+654) / 3-day cume: $2.1M (+116%) / Per screen: $1,982 / Total cume: $53M / Wk 21
10). Ride Along (UNI), 1,323theaters (-546) /3-day cume: $2,024M (-33%) / Per screen: $1,530 / Total cume: $129.9M / Wk 8
Box Office UPDATED: ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’ Wields Powerful International Debut And $3.3M Late Night Thursday Strength For Warner Bros.; ‘Mr. Peabody and Sherman’ Is Yet Another Animated Film Playing In First Quarter 2014
UPDATE, Friday 4:15: Around the world, Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures‘ 300: Rise Of An Empire is grossing huge numbers. In 32 markets, it has taken in a hefty $12.1M over two days in international release, with $9.5M coming from Thursday alone. The film, playing on 1,083 screens, is roughly 20% ahead of the original 300, which took in $7.9M during the same time period in 2007 and grossed a whopping $245.4M internationally by the end of its run.
Driving the box office for Rise Of An Empire overseas was Germany, where it nabbed $1.4M and ended up with a 50% share of the top five films, and Russia with $1.3M on 1,441, taking 73% share of the top five. It also opened to stellar numbers in Korea (918K from 651 runs), Italy ($508K with 45% of the top five) and France for a two-day tally of $3M. In Singapore, it now stands as the biggest opening of an M18 film of all time with a total take of $203K, adding to its $1.4M gross from smaller Asian markets. Rise Of An Empire will open in 25 more markets today – the UK, Spain, Mexico and Brazil are the biggest ones yet to come.
BREAKING: Late-night showings of the second of the 300 films have grossed an estimated $3.3M for Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures, putting the actioner on track for a $40M to $45M weekend. The 3D 300: Rise Of An Empire, which is based on the graphic novel Xerxes from Frank Miller, bowed powerfully on 3,470 screens last night — 3,100 of them were 3D. Thursday night plays started at 8 p.m. and continued through midnight, and that $3.3M take is great for this time of year to boot. The bloody epic from screenwriter Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad stars Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green in a story about a general who is trying to unify Greece and must first battle an invasion from Persia, led by a vengeful mortal-turned-god named Xerxes. The first 300 opened on the same weekend in 2007 to $70.8M and went on to gross $210.6M domestically (worldwide was $456M). Its late night showings, however, tallied $2.5 mil. The distribution team at Warner Bros., led by Dan Fellman, is top notch and truly know how to book and play out their movies, allowing them a little time to breathe in a marketplace that is so dang competitive now.
BOX OFFICE FINAL: ‘Non-Stop’ And Powerful ‘Son Of God’ Fly Past ‘Lego’ On Wings And A Prayer; ‘Lego’ Passes $200M, ‘Frozen’ Passes $1 Billion
OPENING: Non-Stop (UNI) the Liam Neeson airplane suspense thriller looks to take No. 1 with a new $28.5M to $30M estimate on Sunday and a final of $28.8M; Son Of God (FOX) a blessing from $23.5M to $25M now expected at $25M+ to $29M for No. 2 with a final of $25.6M; NOTEWORTHY: Expanding is The Wind Rises (DIS) to take a nice $1.5M for the three-day. Sony released the Russian hit Stalingrad in 3-D on 308 IMAX screens this weekend. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (PAR) in re-release grossed another $1.3M to raise its cume to $126.5M.
3RD UPDATE, MONDAY 1:15 PM: The final numbers are in and Non-Stop ended up with $28.8M for Universal who had it estimated higher this weekend. Son Of God took in $25.6M in its debut for Fox. There were some changes in positions when the dust cleared today, with Relativity’s 3 Days To Kill displacing The Monuments Men for the four spot, but No. 3 was solidly with The Lego Movie which has grossed $20.8M for a whopping $209M in only four weeks for Warner Bros.
Next weekend, audiences will see new releases of Warner Bros.’ 300: Rise Of An Empire which will start on 8 PM showings Thursday night and the animated family film from Fox, Mr. Peabody And Sherman. When I went to see Frozen and the trailer for Peabody ran prior to, the kids around me were already repeating the film’s lines and laughing aloud. The family film has already bowed overseas and has grossed around $38.6M, according to Fox’s most recent numbers today.
2). Son Of God (FOX) 3,260 theaters / 3-day cume: $25.6M / Per screen: $7,853 / Wk 1
3). The Lego Movie (WB), 3,770 theaters (-120) / 3-day cume: $20.8M (-33%) / Per screen: $5,525 / Total cume: $209.1M / Wk 4
4). 3 Days To Kill (REL), 2,872 theaters (0) / $3-day cume: $4.9M (-60%) / Per screen: $1,724 / Total Cume: $20.7M / Wk 2
5). The Monuments Men (SONY) 3,002 theaters (-62) / 3-day cume: $4.9M (-38%) / Per screen: $1,646 / Total cume: $65.6M / Wk 4
6). RoboCop (SONY/MGM) 2,885 theaters (-487) / 3-day cume: $4.5M (-54%) / Per screen: $1,563 / Total cume: $51.2M / Wk 3
7). Pompeii (SONY) 2,658 theaters (0) / 3-day cume: $4.3M (-58%) / Per screen: $1,630 / Total cume: $17.7M / Wk 2
8). Frozen (DIS), 1,746 theaters (-145) / 3-day cume: $3.6M (-18%) / Per screen: $2,080 / Total cume: $388.7M / Wk 15
9). About Last Night (SONY), 1,804 theaters (-449) / 3-day cume: $3.3M (-55%) / Per screen: $1,875 / Total cume: $43.7M / Wk 3
10). Ride Along (UNI), 1,869 theaters (-321) / 3-day cume: $3M (-34%) / Per screen: $1,625 / Total cume: $127.1M / Wk 7
The Wind Rises (DIS) 496 theaters / 3-daycume: $1.5M / Per screen $3,059 / Total cume: $1.9M / Wk 2
Stalingrad (SONY) 308 theaters (3D) / 3-day cume: $510K / Per screen average: $1,659 / Wk 1
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (PAR) 1,317 theaters / 3-day cume: $1.3M / Per screen: $1,032 / Total cume: $126.5 / re-release
Son Of God from Fox so far is the surprise of the weekend, taking in a phenom $1.2M Thursday in late-night shows that began at 10 PM. Universal’s Non-Stop also did bang-up business beginning with 8 PM shows and a total of 720K, according to estimates, as the actioner starring Liam Neeson right now is also playing strong. Two distributors compared Non-Stop‘s opening to that of Olympus Has Fallen, which went onto gross $161M+ worldwide ($99M of it in the U.S.) and that opening was $500,000. So right now Non-Stop is playing above that.
Son Of God still could end up anywhere on the box office top 10, depending how it does this weekend, but if last night is any indication, it could push right up the aisle past Non-Stop. Distributors and those who track the films for a living cannot predict what this picture will gross in its three-day. Reality TV king Mark Burnett, who is producing the picture and is doing a heck of a job garnering publicity with his exec producer Roma Downey, already helped drum up $4.5M in pre-sold tickets — that includes a tremendous amount of group sales from a Colorado-based company called Compassion International which is buying up tickets and giving away parishoners to churches in 40 U.S. cities. “It’s an excellent start and it looks as though Mark and Roma’s sincere grass-roots marketing efforts have ignited and motivated audiences across the country to see Son Of God,” Fox domestic distribution boss Chris Aronson said.
Related: Hot Trailer: Fox’s ‘Son Of God’
The moviegoers that come to see this particular genre aren’t frequent moviegoers so they are traditionally hard to track. To that point, only 30% of 1,000 people buying tickets for Son Of God have seen Frozen and only 28% have seen Gravity — two of the biggest box office hits today. However, at the same time, Fandango also found that 94% Son Of God ticket buyers want to see more Biblical stories made into motion pictures and 76% plan to see Paramount’s Noah starring Russell Crowe and 83% are interested in seeing TriStar/Screen Gems’ Heaven Is For Real (Greg Kinnear). The latter is based on the book that wouldn’t leave the New York Times bestseller’s list. Roughly the same percentage — 82% — are interested in seeing Fox’s Exodus starring Christian Bale. So Son Of God is going to give the studios — especially Fox — a lot of propriety information moving forward on marketing Exodus.
Paramount is also enlisting help from religious entities for their marketing materials. The National Religious Broadcasters and Paramount said last night that they made the joint decision to add an explanatory message to future marketing materials for Noah. Specicially, marketing materials will state: “The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.” Studios are listening to the faith-based organizations and what works and what doesn’t.
If we weren’t sure of the target audience for the Mark Burnett minseries-turned-movie Son Of God, today’s release date announcement comes complete with testimonials not from movie critics but from some of the nation’s most recognizable men of faith …