Scene from "God's Not Dead", one of the Internet’s top eyes on Hollywood, declared “God’s Not Dead” is “shaping up to be a surprise box office hit.”

‘God’s Not Dead’ earned an incredible $8.56 million,” the site noted, which placed the film at No. 5 at the box office this past weekend. “That ranks seventh all-time among faith-based movies, and ranks first among those opening in fewer than 1,000 theaters. It’s a bit below ‘Courageous’ ($9.1 million), but above ‘Fireproof’ ($6.8 million).”

In fact, “God’s Not Dead” opened in only 780 theaters, while the top four films on the box office list this weekend each opened in more than 3,000 theaters. Naturally, the movie’s distributor, Freestyle Releasing, is looking to expand the movie in the upcoming weeks.

“With good word-of-mouth,” BoxOfficeMojo projects, “this could ultimately earn over $30 million,” a total that would put “God’s Not Dead” in the top 10 Christian films made from 1980-present, a list topped by “The Passion of the Christ” and “Chronicles of Narnia.”

Check out this impressive collection of movies – including “The Passion of the Christ,” “The Blind Side” and more – available in WND’s own store.

“God’s Not Dead” focuses on the story of a devoutly Christian college freshman named Josh who finds his faith challenged on his first day of philosophy class by a dogmatic, atheistic professor. The instructor insists that if Josh will not admit, “God is dead,” he must prove God’s existence through well-researched, intellectual arguments over the course of the semester and engage the professor in a head-to-head debate in front of the class.

The stakes are simple: Prove God exists or fail the class.

The Dove Foundation, which specifically honors films with Christian themes, has called “God’s Not Dead” “powerful” and “compelling” and awarded it the “Family-Approved” seal for ages 12 and up.

Texas Pastor John Hagee called the film “a brilliant rebuttal of atheistic propaganda. The exceptional storyline is an affirmation of the existence of an all-knowing, all-powerful and all-loving God who is the Creator of heaven and earth. This movie is a must see for America’s youth!”

The success of the film, however, is primarily being driven by its bold, apologetic theme and the noteworthy cast, which includes Kevin Sorbo (of “Hercules” fame), Dean Cain (“Lois & Clark”) and a cameo appearance by Willie and Korie Robertson of TV’s “Duck Dynasty.”

Willie and Korie Robertson in "God's Not Dead"

WND caught up with the Robertsons on the red carpet in Hollywood and asked them about their transition from television to movies in their first silver screen role.

“Aw, you know, when you look around, there are some people who just shouldn’t be here,” Willie joked, referring to how out of place he looked with his flowing beard and patriotic bandana in a sea of tuxedos and evening gowns. “Our first movie, that was exciting! You know, I thought, ‘Shoot, we’ll just bang this out; we’re big reality TV stars.’ But it was hard, a lot tougher than I thought. But now I can’t wait to see the movie. We were honored they asked us to be in there, and hopefully a lot of people watch it, and I know it’s going to be inspiring.”

“We’re really excited to be in it,” chimed in Korie. “We have a couple of little cameos where we play ourselves. This our first movie, so we’re proud to be a part of it.”

Willie added that the fame of “Duck Dynasty” started with making a positive, family-oriented television show but has opened opportunities – like “God’s Not Dead” – to share their faith with an even wider audience.

“For us our faith is a huge part of it; we’ve felt like God’s always there for us, whether we do a TV show or not, it doesn’t matter,” Willie said. “Thirty years ago, nobody knew who we were. We were happy then, and we’re happy now. But God’s put his blessing on us; he’s given us this platform to keep on pushing His message out.”

Watch the trailer for “God’s Not Dead” below:

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