‘Jesus Revolution’ more than doubles industry estimates at box office on opening weekend

By Randy DeSoto, The Western Journal

The film “Jesus Revolution” more than doubled industry estimates, taking in over $15 million at the weekend box office and earning a third place finish overall.

Deadline reported that the story about the Jesus movement in the late 1960s and 70s was forecasted to earn between $6 million and $7 million in ticket sales.

The movie earned an A+ CinemaScore rating from movie goers and a 99 percent audience rating from Rotten Tomatoes, meaning the audience loved it, though critics gave it mixed reviews at 55 percent.

For “Jesus Revolution” director Jon Erwin, it was the fourth time one of his films earned an A+ rating, which CinemaScore President Harold Mintz pointed out is “unprecedented” going back to when the firm began releasing results in 1986.

“Jon Erwin has now achieved four A+ CinemaScores, more than any other filmmaker since we have been compiling data. For a director to achieve that accomplishment once is a rarity. But to hit that mark four times is not only an incredible distinction — it’s unprecedented,” Mintz said, according to Collider.

Erwin’s other three A+ films were “Woodlawn” (2015), “I Can Only Imagine” (2018) and “American Underdog” (2021).

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Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro speculated the reason that ticket forecasting was so far off is that it has been a while since a Christian movie was in wide release at the box office, playing in nearly 2,500 theaters.

It earned an impressive $6,272 per theater, according to Box Office Mojo.

Additionally, Lionsgate, the film’s distributor, built word-of-mouth interest in “Jesus Revolution” through early screenings at churches and universities.

(This writer was in fact able to attend an early screening in Phoenix last week thanks to a church friend receiving complimentary tickets.)

Further, Jonathan Roumie, the actor who plays Jesus in the popular series “The Chosen,” portrays hippie pastor Lonnie Frisbee in the movie.

The Baptist Paper reported that Erwin talked about “Jesus Revolution’s” impressive opening weekend at Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, on Sunday, describing it as his company Kingdom Story’s “boldest” undertaking yet.

Lionsgate, he recalled, initially responded to the subject matter saying, “If it works, we’re going to do a ton more of this,” but, “If it doesn’t, this may be your last.”

“God just showed up en masse this weekend with the church, and it’s been amazing,” Erwin said.

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He couldn’t help believing it’s God’s timing that the “Jesus Revolution’s release came on the heels of a revival breaking out at Asbury University in Kentucky earlier this month. A similar outpouring happened in February 1970 during the heart of the Jesus movement.

Erwin’s idea for the film came from a 1971 Time magazine cover titled, “The Jesus Revolution.”

It was about the last great spiritual revival in American history, which saw hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, come to faith nationwide.

In fact, the 1971 cover along with 1966 Time cover asking “Is God Dead?” are both seen in the “Jesus Revolution” movie to illustrate the arc American culture made in a few short years.

Actor Kelsey Grammer stars in “Jesus Revolution” as California pastor Chuck Smith, who was one of the most prominent leaders during the Jesus movement.

Grammer told NBC’s “Today” that shooting the movie took him right back to his teen years in the late 60s and early 70s, when all of this was happening.

“What it reminded me most of … in our time, the love, the sense of community, the things that we all had, it was real, and I miss it,” he said.

“Who knows?” Grammer asked. “Maybe this film will bring some of that back. The light in people’s eyes then was genuine and sincere, and there was a connection of faith that was extraordinary.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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