"God’s Not Dead," filmed in Baton Rouge over twenty days with a million dollar budget has earned an unexpectedly strong $9.2 million during in its opening weekend. It has been shown on just 780 screens, yet it has placed fourth in box office receipts for March 21-23. Pure Flix Entertainment, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based film studio and distributor, produced "God’s Not Dead." The movie expands to more theaters this weekend. Baton Rouge filmmaker Jarred Coates and co-producer said “It’s amazing” concerning the movie’s $9.2 million opening because he expected gross earnings from the film’s entire theatrical run to range between $10 million to $15 million.
In "God's Not Dead," Shane Harper plays a college freshman and devout Christian whose faith is challenged by a philosophy professor played by Kevin Sorbo. This impressive opening for "God's Not Dead" follows the remarkably strong showing for "Son of God" that was released Feb. 28 by 20th Century Fox. "Son of God" earned $25.6 million in its opening weekend.
The movie industry is expected to release at least 16 faith-based and and/or biblically-related movies for theaters in 2014. The financial risk for the filmmakers has been tested in 2004 with "The Passion of the Christ." Mel Gibson's grossed more than $1 billion dollars worldwide. Gibson had an active marketing campaign in Protestant and especially in large, evangelical churches before the release of "The Passion of the Christ." This has become a marketing model for other faith-based movies, such as "The Son of God" and "God's Not Dead."
If a film has an engaging story, multi-dimensional characters, unexpected twists and turns, as well as artistic vision, a story that builds in intensity, and redemptive themes; it can prove financially successful as well as engaging, entertaining, and enlightening as it appeals to the eyes, minds, and souls of audiences.